There’s a pear tree in my backyard that was struck by lightning. The result, like a gap in a kid’s smile, is a tree missing a chunk of green along with two dead limbs still reaching hopelessly towards the sky. My pleas to cut it down are refuted by my wife’s patient response of “no.” Last night I sat on my patio looking up through the gap and dead limbs and saw my life in that tree. Somehow, it was the dead limbs that gnawed at this feeling that dreams of success in parts of life’s journey had died or went unfulfilled. It was a semi-regretful state of contemplation of how my life has played out. To my surprise there was usefulness found in my gaze as I watched a spider mend its web within the dead branches. Despite, the glory of leaves and continually drying wood, the dead limb still served a purpose, albeit an unexpected one. I can humbly state, that lightning has pruned my life in my collision with the ambient love of God that surrounds us all. The violence done to my perspective regarding casual denial, whether intentional or unintentional, of the dignity inherent in other people was a transformation I cannot undo. As next year brings more leaves, I hope I grow in offering shade to the persecuted and refuge for the unexpected. As I continue to “see” what God stills me to see, I will strive to remember humility and patience instead of judgment with those with very different lifestyles and perspectives than my own. I believe in the art of conversation and the gift of listening in hopes that if I dare demonstrate compassion for the dignity indwelling in another, then agreeing or disagreeing loses its importance. Although I cannot compromise my heart for God, it doesn’t mean I can’t give it away in friendship.
Therefore… If love, then all conversation is possible. Whether it is abortion, Chic-fil-A, donkeys vs. elephants, same-sex marriage, stem cell research, or a favorite ice cream flavor – let our words and actions reflect the longsuffering God endures for our intentions, words and actions. As politically divisive campaigns rage on looking for allies, remember our prayers to serve others so God may lift them up. Remember we must bound forward for community’s sake, not in divisive conquer. If we are repulsed by another’s sin, then remember it is an opportunity to listen and encourage them that a love still exists to accompany them through any darkness.
Dare to Love
Dare we carry the wounds of our Savior,
Then Jesus deserves better then this.
How dare we offer the sting of judgment –
Mocking friendship with a Judas kiss?
Dare we let Love conquer all,
To stand and listen to what appalls?
Dare we lift the broken when they fall,
Simply because dignity calls?
Opportunity is our Savior’s knock,
A door that opens when love is pure.
Remember Love makes all things possible,
That’s bound by a forgiveness only God endures.
©2011 by Chris Clody 8/17/2012
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