I am back! I know I stepped away for a while. I feel like I should explain. Before I do, let me just say that I do not do vulnerable well. I do funny and indignant, but vulnerable , in this forum , feels a bit unsafe. Here goes, go ahead jump!
Long ago I loved a sweet young man. He was funny and artistic, brilliant and kind. One day I said good bye to him with a peck on the cheek kind of, I will see you later this evening, kind of good bye. I never saw him again. Yes I saw the empty shell of him. He was tragically killed in a car accident on the way home from work. I never saw the light in his eyes, quirky smile and all that was his spirit again. So when I hear about the death of these police officers all over our country, perhaps I feel it more deeply than some. It feels like a gut punch all over again. I love my life, my husband and my kids, but this senseless killing takes me right back to gut punch feeling. I decided this week that life is short, since God has provided me with a car that actually runs reliably and also, as an added bonus, has an air conditioner! It is the first summer in 3 years I have had a working air conditioner in my car. I feel like a princess! So I decided I would take my royal self to see the one person that could help me get my words back.
She is the mom of the young man I lost long ago. When she lost her son, she hung on to me. She took me under her wing. At the time, I honestly thought; this out poring of love is an expression of grief. I thought, it will end soon, keep her at arms length for now, but it didn’t end. She loved me, plain and simple. Looking at it from her eyes, as I struggled through life, she must have thought I was a sinful headed to a dead end wreck kind of girl. Take it from me: I kind of was. She never judged. She just listened and loved. She saw the best in me. She never gave up on me, even when I didn’t deserve it or trust her outpouring of love. This is the love of Christ. I knew she was a Christian even before I knew Him as my Savoir. This is the love of Christ. This is a love that just doesn’t make sense, but exists anyway. This is the love of Christ. So I drove across the country to soak up some of this love, to make the gut punch feeling go away. Beauty from the ashes, that is what Christ does for us, in a tangible, arms folded around you kind of way. This is what God asks from us. I have to admit that I fall far short. I made a commitment a couple of years ago to do what ever God asked of me, no matter how uncomfortable I felt, or down right scared I felt. When I was in church the other day in prayer, my Father said to me; “You have done many things in my name. I know they were scary for you and I am proud of you and you know that I love you.” Then He said; ” Now I want to teach you to love like me.” O.K. hold on there, my Father has asked me to do many things and always had my back, but this love thing, I have to say, scares me to death. When I go to my Father in prayer and I ask,” What do you want of me in the light of this killing? What is my part to play?” He replies simply, over and over; LOVE EXTRAVAGANTLY! Now I know it is my Lord talking because I usually don’t use such big words and in fact had to look that up. What is Extravagant love? What does it look like? Webster thinks it looks like this; excessive, immoderate, inordinate, extravagant, exorbitant, extreme mean going beyond a normal limit. excessive implies an amount or degree too great to be reasonable or acceptable.
God please help me to live a life pouring out extravagant love on others. So I went to see a real life example of extravagant love in my friend. I have learned from her that love is not complicated, but it is consistent. Now my sweet friend has another thing going for her; she is the real deal, meaning she is a farm girl. Not just, a want to be farm girl like me, she is a true to life chicken, turkey, vegetable raising farm girl. When I have a question, this is who I call. She has helped me get my words back in the face of tragedy. She has shown me a true life example of extravagant love. I know this has nothing to do with gardening/urban farming and maybe this isn’t what you signed up for, but this is just where I am right now. As we were talking, my friend did convinced me to share my story about how 5 city kids their mom learned how to kill a chicken, rooster to be exact; 11 of them. Hey, they were crowing loudly! If you haven’t heard my 11 roosters story, listen here. I know you are thinking; how hard can it be to kill a chicken? Harder than you think! So stay tuned; in the wake of extravagant love, I have found my voice again!