We sat down to breakfast, dear friends for whom the ability to make time for each other is an all too rare occasion. Then, I heard it again, an unbelievable statement that I sometimes thought was just hyperbole, spoken because my friend so loved me. I appreciated it no less because of that, but today I heard it again: “You changed my life, I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for you!” It snapped me to “mental attention” and made me reconsider because just two days earlier I’d heard exactly the same statement from a different friend of 35 years that I was able to share a rare Thanksgiving with because she is so burdened with a job which flies her all over the country constantly. She is not my blood sister, but her daughter is named after me. Then I heard it again, exactly the same thing; “My life changed that night you prayed with me!” (probably 30 years ago). What do I do with that, how do I meet up to the astounding implications that those statements have for me, not to mention my friends? It melted my heart, it scrambled my brain, it almost scared me to hear that mega quote twice within three days! It made me very humble and very grateful. I’m not very good at that “humility stuff”. I usually go for the “flash”.
I’ve been thinking about this for a couple of days now. How do I “return the honor” so generously given? You know when you first come to consciousness about who the Lord is and how much He loves you, all you want to do is bask in the unchanging comfort of this new reality. That’s how it was for me, waaaaay back in the 70’s when the Spirit was tearing it up and Catholic Churches all over the country were learning that the spiritual happenings at Duquesne University were real and not rumor. As I attended prayer meetings, workshops and prayer sessions I learned lots of stuff but what I guess I didn’t realize was that I was being changed simply by “being there”. It just became “habit” to tell people about God, how real he was and that when someone expressed distress to me, praying for them and with them was simply my job. It’s what I’ve done ever since. I’ve prayed on and with scores of people. I never really thought that I was forming a new job description or heading toward a new career but I guess that’s what happened. I became a spiritual warrior, sometimes publically, sometimes privately, and sometimes silently. In my sixth decade I don’t even remember who many of those prayer recipients were. I did my job nonetheless and now this astounding declaration from two of those dear to me. What a priceless gift that I simply did not expect
This whole scenario, though, is not meant to be “all about me” but rather a broader picture that the Lord always gives and we often completely ignore. All of us are called to the same thing; pray, live, witness to the goodness of the Lord. It’s not about how religion is “about Jesus and me” and no one else’s business. If you read the bible with any degree of consciousness you can see that this is simply not true. Although we are admonished to go into our closet and pray in private, we are also commissioned to go and tell all nations. They are hand in glove and one action prepares you for the other. The real work that we are commissioned to do is public, very public. So at this point in my life this spectacular affirmation from people dear to me is an encouragement that money could never buy. One of the things that I believe we sometimes fall short on is how important and powerful our affirmations to others can be. It is a weapon of salvation that we all carry. The thought of or memory of an affirmation from someone we adore can lift the spirit, confirm our doubts, encourage us, bolster us, convince us to go on. It is a powerful tool when spoken from the heart.
One of the really unusual things about my “affirmation week-end” was just that, the fact that I heard this twice in the span of a couple of days. Sometimes the Lord does that and in Charismatic Circles we call that a “confirmation”. A statement so powerful and so unlikely to show up in the way that it happened that it is a clear move of the Spirit. These two buddies of mine do not know each other and have never spoken! So I have been the recipient of great privilege and great blessing. That makes me know that all the witnessing and praying I have done on behalf of the Lord has actually been heard somewhere in the recesses of heaven and that God really is paying attention to little ole me. Yikes! He does pay attention to and hear all of us believe it or not. So if you are a person who is being “poked’ by the Spirit to extend an affirmation or bit of love to someone else, know that desire is a good thing. It is not yours to decide you are too shy or would be embarrassed. The “poke” is the Spirit moving in you and by listening to that move we all become better listeners, practice makes perfect. My friends were not only blessed by me but the great joy in their witness is to see that they are hearing the Spirit too. Their comments were the height of generosity and the ability to listen to the Lord. Grace flows two ways, it is self perpetuating. I have been the recipient of a great privilege; to see those I have blessed return to bless me! This only means one thing; it’s my job to go out and continue to extend the same blessing where ever I can. Wow, I’m 63, I thought I might get a day off! LOL!
Copyright©2010, Kathryn M. Cunningham, All Rights Reserved
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