Friday, February 14, 2014

Day 45- A Flower First

My family and I went to Pensacola this evening. I picked them up from school (Laura was substitute teaching today) and off we went.  Before that, I had lunch with a friend at Subway and so I bought cookies for Laura, Hannah Grace, and Joel to eat on the way to Pensacola.  Inspired by a friend of mine, I stopped by the store and got some icing and made hearts on each of their cookies.  While I was at the store, I was confronted with a choice.  I could buy a small tube of generic flavored colored icing that I could decorate pretty with or a tub of really good tasting icing that I would have to sort of smear on the cookie. I went for the good tasting smear.  When I told the family of my choice, they unanimously said I made the right choice. I do think decorating cookies for the family is a "first"; a messy, tacky, and tasty first.  Plus, we have a ton of icing left!

Cream cheese icing for the ladies, strawberry for Joel

I wasn't through with my "first" yet.  I was inspired to do a year of firsts by a lady named Lu Ann Cahn who did it.  At the end of her book "I Dare Me" she listed all of her firsts.  It became readily apparent that she lived in a larger and more culturally diverse city than I do. Most of her "firsts" won't work for me.  There was one that she did that sounded fun. She gave a random stranger a flower.  That sounded like fun if a bit out of my comfort zone. The more I thought about actually doing it, the odder it started sounding.  If I walk up to a random lady and give her a flower, she might think I'm trying to make a romantic advance.  That's a bad deal for me. Laura is the only person I want to make romantic advances toward or want to think I'm making romantic advances toward. I don't want to be like some creepy guy.  And regardless of what you might think of me, I am not going to walk up to a random dude and give him a flower. That's just not going to happen.

Today, it occurred to me that this could be flower day.  My family would be with me (takes away the creepy guy element) and it's Valentine's Day.  I asked them about it on the way to Pensacola and everybody that it sounded fun except Joel.  It sounded a bit embarrassing to him.  We proceeded anyway. I got Hannah Grace to help me pick out a pretty flower. She picked a pinkish rose. 

We decided to eat at Chik-Fil-A.  Well, we picked Joel up some tacos at Taco Bell and then went to Chik-Fil-A.  I ordered our food and when the nice lady gave me my receipt and asked if there was anything else, I said "Yes Mam, my family and I would like to give you a flower and tell you Happy Valentine's Day."  She looked pretty stunned.  Which, of course, was sort of the idea.  We all agreed that she also looked pretty happy and a little at a loss for how to react.  She said thank you.  Before we left, she came and gave the kids a balloon.

She had a pink and a white balloon; there was no argument over who got which color!

Once again, I'm glad I did my "first." I asked Laura to write "Jesus loves you" on the card that came with the flower.  Perhaps this will be encouraging to her.  Perhaps she'll forget all about it by the end of her shift.  In some way, I want to reach out to the world with Jesus' love. It's even better if I/we can reach out in a way that stuns the world. Tonight's "first" was very small and I know that.  At least it was something and fun for all of us to do (even Joel came around a little bit). 

The early Christians stunned the world with their demonstration of Jesus' love. There was a deadly plague around 260 A.D.   Bishop Dionysius wrote this of the Christians during this horrible time:
"Most of our brother Christians showed unbounded love and loyalty, never sparing themselves and thinking only of one another. Heedless of danger, they took charge of the sick, attending to their every need and ministering to them in Christ, and with them departed this life serenely happy; for they were infected by others with the disease, drawing on themselves the sickness of their neighbors and cheerfully accepting their pains. Many, in nursing and curing others, transferred their death to themselves and died in their stead…The best of our brothers lost their lives in this manner, a number of presbyters, deacons, and laymen winning high commendation so that death in this form, the result of great piety and strong faith, seems in every way the equal of martyrdom.”  
Then he wrote of the non-Christian reaction:
"The heathen [pagans] behaved in the very opposite way. At the first onset of the disease, they pushed the sufferers away and fled from their dearest, throwing them into the roads before they were dead and treated unburied corpses as dirt, hoping thereby to avert the spread and contagion of the fatal disease; but do what they might, they found it difficult to escape.”

We would be safe to assume that the world was stunned by the Christian's love.  May it be so again.

Needing to love and serve more for the abundant life,


3 things I thank God for today
1. The Laura loves and serves her family
2. The loving testimony of the early church
3. I heard of a Christian brother who reached out to another in our community this week in a very practical and sacrificial way- I  know he would prefer the name and act to be anonymous. I thank God for him and his act of love.

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