Moments that catch us off-guard seem to casually walk unwelcome into our unexpecting radar. It amazes me how much this simple heart of mine falls victim to the trespasses of empathy that beckon my attention, my thoughts, and eventually my prayers. One such moment hit me as I was clicking through the channels aimlessly searching to distract me from the luggage of migraines and another long day in the books. My thumb somehow got the signal to stop clicking as I landed on a show that portrayed a homosexual couple planning their wedding. Despite my core belief that marriage is more than a vow, but a profound sacramental pledge towards God and family, it was not my assumed righteousness that gave pause to my attention, my thought, and eventual prayer. As one male parter who clearly took upon all the excitement of combing the guest list while his overly supportive mother ooohed and aaahed, the other young male was sadly quiet. As the final rsvp was read, the sad and quiet male began to cry since it was immediately apparent that the last ooh and aah was not for his parents. I knew in my deepest empathy that “those” tears were not the first journey down that young man’s cheeks. His depth of loneliness and disapproval by his family despite being surrounded now by those who loved him was now finding my vulnerable heart. Although I’m for some reason prone to an experiential intimacy with God that runs the gamut of my emotions, my global understanding of what God expects us to honor is not swayed by emotions. Yet…that doesn’t mean it doesn’t take a shelling from understanding this gift we ALL share called love. So there, sitting with a remote frozen in my hand, my heart sank as this young man tried to wipe the fresh trail of tears from his face. It has been nearly a week since my attention, my thoughts, and prayers have continue to follow the sad and quiet soul created to find joy, laughter and a fearless love for God and neighbor. Life is truly complicated, yet somewhere in the mess of understanding love of God and neighbor, all hearts will find a welcomed refuge. I wish I could tell that sad and quiet man, he not only has my newfound and unexpected prayers but a real sense of my love too. After all, it is not only my faith that dictates that everyone of God’s creatures find that indescribable and eternal joy that removes the heavy residue of loneliness and disapproval – it is also found in my simple, predictable, and vulnerable heart.