Receiving Joy

This morning I opened my email to find a message from two dear friends in Australia, letting me know they would see me in June. I found myself unable to hold back tears of relief and joy, as their faces came to mind and I remembered how they hold me in their hearts and how they regard me with so much joy and love. I know I am safe in their thoughts of me and in their anticipation of being together again.

There is so much that we need from one another that needs to come from the heart, that cannot be given on command — just because that is what we are supposed to do. I know a person in this one church who gives me a huge smile every time I am there, but it feels very disconcerting because I know that I mean nothing to her. I am an alien to her and I feel even more alienated by her fake smile. We can tell the difference, you know, between the real thing and an effort to look like we care. And even when I know this truth, that you would be able to tell the difference, I cannot make it come out right unless I already have a joyful regard for you in my heart. Like Jesus said, whatever is on the inside of a person will come out. And pretending something else is on the inside than what is really there does not change a thing.

When we feel truly loved and cared about, it matters. We need it like we need air. And when we love and care about another, we need to let them know. Because they need us as much as we need them. “Love one another” sort of sums it up, don’t you think? Not as a command to act like we love one another, but as a way of life to be cultivated and relished and shared.

Thank you, my Australian friends, for your care. I needed that today more than you know.

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