Trilogy: Closer Contact of the Needful Kind (part two)
By John Bonney of Springfield, OR, USA
The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their cry. When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears, and rescues them from all their troubles. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted, and saves the crushed in spirit. —Psalm 34:15, 17–18 NRSV
Companion Travelers on the Planet
Although many of my physical and mental abilities are flagging with the years, I still have the ability to raise a smile with quick quips. So now, here I am on one of my better days, in a new check-out line, first in line, and I throw an affirming jest at the checker.
I tell you, there is nothing more pitiful than an old man who thinks he is funny. I have seen it many times, and I have been it many times. I practice my humor on clerks, receptionists, nurses, doctors, teachers, and ministers. My personal doctor always sits there and smiles quietly at my harmless quirks. He doesn’t laugh; he just smiles benignly and lets the old fool carry on.
However, if I happen to get a traffic ticket, I cannot find the mirth in the circumstance to express goodwill. Now I have not had a traffic ticket in a decade or more; however, in most other circumstances I can get a person to smile or maybe even laugh.
I remember when I was still riding the local bus to and from the office every day. I would usually make an effort to nod to people I did not know, say hello or good morning to them, or just smile at them. These folks travel with us on this planet, and there’s no getting off, at least not now, short of death.
I believe most people appreciate us recognizing them. When we nod to someone, smile, greet them pleasantly, we say, “You are, and I recognize that you are, and in that recognition you have value and worth. Tell me your story; I am listening.” When we feel we are heard, our day can be better—maybe just slightly better—but better.
Prayer for Peace
We have faith, Lord, that you hear us when we cry for help. What a happy surprise that a passing stranger might respond as well. Perhaps they don’t know we are in need, but wisely guess that a smile or listening ear may help.
Spiritual Practice: Offering Blessings of Community
Receive and share Blessings of Community. Begin with a prayer of gratitude for the friendships in your life. See and feel connections with family members, spiritual friends, people in your congregation and community, and people and creatures in God’s sacred web of life. What blessings flow to you from these circles? How have you felt the love of the community?
Reflect, pray, or write in your journal about the call to be “Community of Christ.” Go deeper each day as you consider what acts of blessing you can complete for stranger and friend alike.
Today, God, I will smile to so many people my cheeks will ache.