Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.
Ephesians 3:17-19 (NLT)
I just can’t shake it, it’s been several days since I witnessed what I believe was blatant self-centeredness, no regard for others. It made my heart ache as I witnessed this person’s oblivion to the folks that he was connected to.
No, I am not a clinician or counselor, but like you if we observe a situation long enough there are some astute conclusions that we do quickly arrive at. Discerning spirits is what I ‘d like to think we have. My elders might call it “plain nosey”, I label it “concern”.
Now this is no indictment against those that take care of self , look out for their own needs, but disregarding others feelings, emotions and needs for the sake of self (I argue)is a horse of another color. Alright I’ll get to it.
After shopping for a few grocery items, I agreed to meet my friend in the photo section of Walmart. I think you will agree that on any given Saturday, Walmart is jumping, there’s lots of momentum. That wasn’t part of my morning plan, but I obliged my friend and agreed to go. And who can’t pass up a great bargain on fruit and veggies! I eventually found my way to the Photo Department and there was my friend studiously positioned at the monitor and diligently, very meticulously selecting her many photos. She wanted to clear out her SD card and create room on her camera disc for future photos. “Good idea”, I thought. I need to get busy doing the same. As I leaned in to examine her selections, I could not help but to stop look at my surroundings in astonishment. Folks were intently shopping. A woman in a clown outfit was riding by on a bicycle collecting donations for the needy. Folks were enjoying their shopping experience.
Activities were all a buzz. People were moving about, children were skipping and the cash registers were filling.
Then I noticed a young girl in the shopping cart (much too tall for that seat), slumped but quietly sitting. What I believe were her two brothers, stood nearby and were more animated, chatting and enjoying one another’s company. They did not disturb anything, but curiously moved about. They remained a safe distance-not too far from their mother who scanned an old family photo. I stretched my neck to see what appeared to be a rather worn photo from “back in the day” as we might stay. Not sure if the discolored photo previously hung on the wall or possibly was rediscovered in an aged photo album? It was obvious that it was an important family treasure. It appeared that the grandmother was also present for this outing. Her smile indicated that the she appreciated the technology of reproducing the photo and the young woman’s skill at operating the scanner.
I later observed the grandmother's gait, her walking seemingly uneasy but determined. She dragged her stiff leg as she confidently pushed the shopping chart with the little girl ,which I bet could have sprinted down the aisles with no effort. I imagined they had a very special bond. But prior to that a young man approached them eating a hot dog draped with his favorite condiments. The young woman, said in a dissatisfied tone,
“You always manage to get lost.”
“ You’ve been gone a long time.”
In a sheepish, and not so apologetic tone, I heard the reply which expressed his disconnection and unconcern.
“I was just talking to some people I knew.”
Observing each of the youngsters, it was apparent he wasn't interested, not invested in this young woman's opinion as he ate his hot dog. He never missed a morsel, made no eye contact and never offered the children, the women a bite, nor suggested that they to come with him to purchase a snack. The children looked hungrily as he indulged.
The little girls stare succumbed to an averted glance downward, and what I surmised was a pitiful, but futile longing. What must she be thinking? The little boys tried very hard not to look directly at the young man as he lifted and the gobbled down the last bite of the hot dog. I began to feel bad, I was internalizing their disappointment, their pain and wondered why? Wondered what must their home dynamics be like.
So many things raced through my mind about a father’s love. A father’s love that crosses over a gene pool, reaches back-instilled from generations long gone and calls children that are not from his own loins “mine.” These blessed men that demonstrate a love that hungrily wants to make others feel good, feel validated, included and cared for are treasured! They have deposited love and have made a remarkable impact for healthier living! I earnestly wanted to yell , “What are you thinking?” And then I realized, he wasn’t! He didn’t have a clue or the unthinkable was that he didn’t care.For him it was just another occasion to wander off and think about self! He must not have known a loving father figure, a man with a forthright character that modeled unselfishness. Maybe he did? Who cared for him and others? Unfortunately on this occasion, he flunked the Are You Rooted In Love test miserably! It took a small gesture to demonstrate love! He could have done something differently or possibly said, “Later we’ll get a treat”, if his finances were low. It's not too late he can have a change of heart and do a new thing on the next go round!
Oh my, I feel a fresh wind blowing! Friends the very good news is, it is not too late for the multitude of others and this young man to embrace a new way! A new way of operating in the world and more importantly allow a new form of love and reverence to dwell, reside in his home, in his heart!
Where are the young versions of Daddy Wahab, Uncle Leonard, Father Ned, Big Daddy, Papa Bailey, Gramps, Uncle William, Brother Sam, Cousin Melvin, Mr. Jim? All these wonderful men that defy the stereotypes, and knew or learned how to love genuinely! We yearn for more of your love! Show us how!! Come forth elders and hurry young men. Lord knows we need you to lead by example. The families need you, the children miss you! We are praying for all the hungry, overlooked, love starved little children. We all need you to nurture and care for us! Help us to build each other up and cultivate relationships that are rooted in love! We are praying anew! God is waiting to guide you!
Lord help us to be mindful of not only ourselves, but others. Help us to yearn for it! To get it: humbleness, faithfulness and to harbor love. To grab hold of consideration and gain a new level of comfort as we endeavor to model it-model love and spread it on thick like we do when we indulge ourselves.
Help us Lord to see the needs of others, to value them and believe that we too will have our needs met and love reciprocated.
Help us Jesus to remember that we are yours and you are ours! You’ll always support us in doing your will.
We bind anything that is contrary to your design for our lives. And to loose hearts of thanksgiving because we are rooted in your divine love! We'll forever continue to give you the honor, praise and glory! Forever and ever.
In the name of Jesus Christ our Lord! Amen!
Sharing With Great Joy,
Linda Mose Meadows, Urban Views Weekly and Empower Magazine Columnist and Inspirational Author of: The Blessedness of Believing A Devotional Journey of Life’s Lessons and God’s Promises and Co-publisher of Eyes of Faith Magazine