By BECKY SIEWERS
CONNECTING FAITH AND LIFE
My husband and I are proud grandparents of eight smart, beautiful and talented little ones. They say and do the most amazing things. After three boys in the family, my daughter and her husband had a little girl. She is the “princess,” of course, and her brothers treat her as one. She loves to copy anything they say and do, and sometimes that leads to rough housing or taking some falls. Most of the time, she pops right up and exclaims with her little hands up in the air, “I’m OK!” We, of course, laugh and are happy she wasn’t hurt. I was thinking the other day how great it would be if we, as adults, could feel the same way. We may not take a physical fall, but we all have times where we feel hurt, disappointed, sad or discouraged. I know that proclaiming “I’m Ok” isn’t always my first thought. I want to have those feelings, sit with them and feel sorry for myself. But that doesn’t really bring me much comfort and certainly separates me from God.
In those times, we need to find quiet moments in our lives to let go of the distractions that take us away from our relationship with God. Sometimes we have to put aside a preconceived notion we have of situations and get past what is really hurting us. We have to find forgiveness and move on from the hurt. That is not an easy thing to do, regardless of whether the hurt comes from a family member, acquaintances, coworkers or people who may just have a short time in our lives. We have to open our hearts and souls to find that forgiveness so we can move forward on our spiritual journey.
At this time we are hearing all kinds of information about what to do with COVID-19. I pray daily for those who have to make decisions on what advice to give us to be safe. For the school authorities who are trying to figure out what is best for our children to continue learning and not be in harm’s way. Sometimes if we make snap judgments about a situation, it can have the wrong consequence. We have to challenge ourselves to look beyond a first impression and decide what is really right for the future. Every single person on earth is created and loved by God. So each and every encounter is a moment of grace that has the potential to transform us. We meet the Lord in each thing we do. “Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever receives the one I send receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me” (John 13:20).
To be OK, sometimes we have things that linger in our lives, parts of our past refuse to go away no matter how many times we take them to God in Reconciliation. Perhaps that is only natural, but that can come from our lack of faith and trust, not because God is unwilling to forgive us. Spiritual growth can only come when we can find the faith to let go of those things that hurt us and accept the grace and forgiveness that God offers. Just like our little granddaughter, we must be able to pop back up and declare we are OK to go on!
Jesus promises that when we, the believers, proclaim the gospel with our lives, we will see amazing signs. If we reflect on Jesus’ life, we see how he always treated others with love, forgiveness and mercy. Unconditional love, as Jesus taught, will help us cast out the envy, pride and hatred that we can have and that will keep us from a true relationship with God. We will continue to enjoy watching our grandchildren grow, laughing at their antics, praising them for their accomplishments and affirming them for being who they are, a child of God. We will most certainly see that little girl continue to fall and get up to share, “I’m OK!” And now I will thank God for showing me this sign from her; I can be OK, too!