The capacity to love
I have been filled with the busyness of momma days in the last two weeks. So magical were these days that I almost needed to pinch myself to prove that they could be real. Two weeks ago I embarked on a trip to meet someone whom God had placed into my life in the most remarkable of ways. The mission took me a little over 900 miles from home to share my family’s story, but also led me to a new band of sisters that only could have been orchestrated by our mutual Father above. Among those sisters was a friend that I never knew that I needed.
The “pinch me” part of this story involves a person who has no idea that she had any role to play in the rest of the story. Somehow I have to believe that Ann Curry’s desire and heart for a good story would want to know how she introduced me to a friend – well, sister of my heart.
For the most part, I live a sheltered life, yet I am finding since I began to share my story that God is calling me farther and farther from my comfortable home on the Minnesota prairie. Included in that stretching is the use of social media sites to share the story of my family’s loss and God’s steadfast faithfulness throughout. I am not blind to the ways that people use these sites in evil ways, but in my story, God can (and does) use them in ways beyond our imagination.
This story is the gospel truth.
Even my own imagination couldn’t have embellished this one. Here is where Miss Curry comes in. She is a journalist whom I trust and find very engaging. I decided to follow her on Twitter about the time of the Newtown school shootings. After watching parents awaiting the news of their children, I was transported back to my own moment in the school’s media center awaiting the news of my sons. The resurfacing of my deep hurts caused me to languish for days reliving the pain of losing a child. A few days later I learned of Ann Curry’s prompting to ask folks to complete 26 acts of kindness in memory of the lives lost. Blindsided by the deep tentacles grief can use to suffocate your heart, I needed something to refocus my energy, releasing grief’s stronghold. Using #26acts, an online army compelled by the force of love began, led by our “General” Curry. I was one among the ranks.
So too was a new friend I didn’t know God needed me to meet.
One of those doing acts of kindness was a Coach, whom I later learned lives in Kentucky. She posted something that she had done as one of her acts, and I decided to follow her on Twitter. In turn, she began to follow me. Much later, I posted about comforting a woman in the Wal-mart bathroom as one of my #26acts. Ann Curry re-tweeted my tweet, and the response I got from others melted my heart. One of those responses “Thanks for reminding us that compassion doesn’t have to equal dollar signs” came from this coach. It simply blew me away.
From that moment on, our “friendship” morphed from one of liking each other’s tweets to a mutual sharing from our morning devotions. Months went on like this where we discovered we were a lot alike -both sports nuts, both teachers, and both women of faith.
Without sharing all the minute details, she was brave enough to follow God’s prompting and reached out to work with her church to bring me to Kentucky. I had the opportunities to speak twice, which was wonderful. However, it was by “doing life” with them, that I learned what God was truly calling me to do – love others, opening my heart to a whole additional set of sisters.
The mystical thing about this whole story is I went there to meet a friend and to bless others, but I realized that a part of my heart was transformed as I was equally blessed in return.
Not long ago, my heart was so broken, fractured and splintered, I wasn’t sure that I could ever feel joy and love again.
I am so thankful that it didn’t take long for God to show me through the kindness of my friends and neighbors that His love was and is always present. The reminders came in a flood of acts of kindness. That continual filling of my spirit allowed my broken heart to be stitched back together with a profound awareness that love leads you in fantastical ways to do amazing things.
In some ways, I think their kindness allowed God to re-wire me with a greater capacity to love. My newly stitched heart led me to a wonderful place far from home – where my newfound sisters in Christ live. Among those is one whom God led to reach out and show me a new path for His love.
So today I am thankful for a place called Kentucky, Ann Curry, and all the friends God has given me.