By Joann Condit of Phoenix, AZ, USA
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. —Philippians 4:4–5, 7 NRSV
Our youngest grandson, Tyler, serves in the U.S. Air Force and was deployed to Qatar last year. Elsie was ten months old and Aryana just two and a half. They love their daddy deeply, and it was hard to endure the nine-month separation. I am so thankful for modern communication that allowed the little family to talk together daily—to see one another, even though far apart.
In a video of Tyler’s return home, a distant figure in fatigues approaches. With a duffel over his shoulder, he strides up the concourse. In the foreground his wife is on her knees, a little daughter leaning on either side. As the soldier approaches, Aryana suddenly launches like a small rocket, “My Daddy! It’s my Daddy!”
Tyler drops to one knee and scoops up the trembling bundle of vibrant joy. Then Elsie realizes this strange man is the one she has been seeing each day on the phone, and she is off and running, arms out, “Daddy!” Aryana is patting her father’s back, his head, his face…and then she looks at her hand, back at his face, and says, “Are you crying, Daddy?”
In that instant, my own tears fell as I remembered the sacrifices so many give, so often, and so generously. I think of them with thanks and appreciation.
Side-by-side in my mind was a related thought. All of us need the loving acceptance parents give their children. We need that joyful welcome a child gives to a parent. We are grateful if we have and give that welcome here on earth. I have faith that this will be our welcome home by our Divine Parent.
Prayer for Peace
Welcoming God, may we never wander far from you; but if we do, it is good to know we can return to unconditional love. May we also know and share unconditional peace.
Spiritual Practice: Honoring God’s Call in Others
Reflect on how you sense God’s calling reflected in the gifts and actions of others. Begin by prayerfully asking to recall particular moments when the gifts of others were a blessing to you. When has God revealed grace to you through the life of another? When have you felt resistant to the gifts offered by another? Reflect on how you came to honor that person’s call. Write in your journal or reflect on how you can help another person develop and share their gifts.
Today, God, I will express appreciation to someone who has sacrificed for the common good.