"...Your love is the promise that guides me
All of the days of my life..."
This line from Dan Fogelberg's "Missing You" has been playing through my heart for the last few days. For many years this song has been all about the relationship between two people who love and miss one another. But this week I have been thinking about this line in a new way. For me, today, it is all about the love that divine Love, God, puts in my heart as a promise of His ever-present direction and guidance in my life.
Okay, so I had it made. But I have skipped to the middle of this story...let me start again...
My dear, funny, sit-in-Starbucks-and-laugh-yourself-silly, smart, kick-in-the-butt, hold-you-accountable friend Jill got married last summer to her childhood sweetheart…I couldn't have been happier to know that she was cherished and adored by this precious man. But, he lived in Iowa. Iowa!?!?!? This was not good. It took us 7 hours (one way!) to drive up for the wedding. I was going to miss her terribly. Then she told me the other good news…that she would continue to teach at the community college here each week and would be coming down on Monday and staying through Thursday evening. We could still meet at Starbucks once a week to connect and catch-up. So, it wasn't really going to be that bad after all. Well, at least not for me. I wasn't making that commute, I wasn't going to be away from my husband four days (and nights) a week. I wasn't going to have to coordinate raising two still-in-school age children from 7 hours away.
As summer turned into Fall I started really looking forward to our visits. I had missed her laugh…and her wisdom. Each week those visits left me feeling like a girl. We had a blast. The hours flew by and I felt refreshed. But it was becoming more and more obvious with every visit that this was not the very best situation for Jill and her family. She loved her job at the college, but needed to be with her husband and children. It was clear that a job near home would be a perfect solution.
I joined her in scanning postings for a great job in Northern Iowa. I prayed with all my heart that she would be seen as the perfect candidate. And she was! Just before Thanksgiving she was selected for a wonderful position that would eliminate the 14 hour round trip commute and would put her home each night with her family.
I was thrilled.
Then it hit me. I was THRILLED!!!! Really thrilled for her. I wasn't bummed, depressed or heart-broken that I wouldn't see her every week. I was so happy for my friend. So happy for her family.
My love for her had over-ridden any selfish desire to have her here each week so that I could enjoy her company…to laugh and talk with her. It was, once again, a powerful indication of God, as Love, working in my heart…causing me to desire, truly desire, what was best for someone else.
I love these reminders.
When someone asks me how or why it is that I am so sure that there really is a God, these are the kinds of things that I think about…and share. I'm not as inclined to talk about the physical, emotional, financial or relationship healings I have experienced and witnessed, however powerful those experiences may have been. No, I am more likely to share an experience where God, as Love, has so filled my heart with unselfishness, over-ridden self-interest, and has made me WANT, really want something good for someone else that it goes against all that is "me" oriented. Because it is in these moments that I am reminded that I am, at my core, just plainly and simply, his child, a good person…the instrument of His love. That He has the power to govern my heart, to steer it with this love.
At the end of her, very brief, "Daily Prayer", Mary Baker Eddy encourages us to pray:
"…And may Thy Word
enrich the affections of all mankind
and govern them."
God is enriching my affections, my love for others, and this is the way he guides and governs every moment of my life. This is how he moves each of us towards our purpose, establishes our mission, and defines our legacy…each day. This is why I can trust Him with my heart…because He has shown me over and over again that He has the power to make me want something that it would make no sense for me to want if I were only a self-defined, self-determined, self-protective, self-ish mortal. The desire to parent, to unite with another in marriage, to serve others, to work out a relationship problem…it could only be this larger hand of Love guiding my heart so completely away from self.
This love is, for me, the promise that guides me…all of the days of my life….