For me, I neglect to realize the profound joy that exists in my life when life is going along easily. For some reason, I am busy doing life rather than fully existing in life. However, God steps in occasionally and rocks my world just a bit. My parents have been stressed due to both mounting farm chores and health issues. As I came to realize this, I mentioned it to some friends in conversation. This is the opportunity to experience great joy – it’s where the “rubber meets the road.” These friends saw this opportunity and reacted out of love and compassion by immediately volunteering their time and talents to come alongside and carry the burdens of my parents.
I’ve talked about this idea of “Love in Action” before (see http://www.jason1365.com/2007/03/11/love-in-action/), but recently I have been on the receiving end of the love. It is completely mind-blowing to receive love through these friends; I am humbled because I do not deserve it, nor can I repay them for their expressed love through service and companionship.
Two passages from Scripture come to mind as I reflect on the blessings of relationship. These passages have continued to resurface over the past couple of years. I am compelled to let these permeate my lifestyle and being; however inept I am now.
John 13:34-35 – “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
1 John 3:16-18 – This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.
So, to you, friends, you do not know how your service releases the worry from the mind of my parents (in particular my dad). Thank you, the following is for you.
You have demonstrated friendship in its fullness – your selfless acts are wonderfully humbling and fill hearts with hope and joy. You are a true blessing. To provide a little perspective on how your sacrifice reduce stress and bring joy, please read through a sample of how you have impacted the life of my dad.
Imagine you get up early in the morning to take care of the farm. As you get up, your feet hit the dirty floor as you get dressed. You get some milk from the fridge, but remember that you wanted to clean out the dust for months now. You step outside and see the overgrown grass and heinously huge forsythia bush. You dread another discussion about it and, even more, the work it will take to push it back. You go to open the garage and see the uncut and un-split logs that have been sitting for many months – more work that needs to be done prepare for winter. You glace at the untilled garden knowing that seeds need to go in the ground ASAP. As you walk towards the main barn, you pass one barn full of monitors, old cattle feed, and lots of bags and think to yourself, “I need to clean that out before the time to spread fertilizer.” As you reach the barn you look to your right and see the pile of rock that you need to use to fill in the holes in the driveway while remembering the old bags and other debris in the barn. Again, the burdens push down on your shoulders, “So many things to do, but I need to check on the cows right now.” As you walk through the fields to tend to the cows you see a tree on the fence and many other trees down in the bull lot and think, “This is such a mess and will take forever to clean up, especially with my back problems – I’ll have to be careful and go even slower. I can’t use this field for cows until this is fixed.” You walk through some of the other pastures and see the more downed trees – what a mess, creating hassle for you and the cows(all the while knowing that good firewood is going to waste), “What a pity I can’t get all of these cleaned up.” As you round your way back toward the house, you see that old barn in a pile knowing that it should get cleaned up so that the cows don’t get hurt or eat rusty nails. You see a woodchuck run toward another building and remember seeing holes throughout the foundation of the building, “That building is going to collapse because of their darn holes.” You walk past two dead trees that need to be cleaned up – in your own yard – “There is too much hard work to do everywhere.” You look around and see the remnants of an old swimming pool and high grass – such an eye sore (not that the myriad of other things weren’t). You walk back toward the house door and see seven (count them, seven) squirrels in the tiny tree you were supposed to plant five months ago. Finally, you walk inside and remember you need to make special food for your wife and then make breakfast for yourself.
Pretend like this is just the first hour of your day, how motivated are you to do the actual pressing tasks of the day when you know that when you get those done, these other stresses are waiting patiently, however unrelenting, for you once you accomplish any other task.
Thank you for enduring the burdens of my parents. You fulfill (see Galatians 6:2).