The life of Jesus was a life of love. He saw value and worth in every person he encountered.
Every single one.
He invites his followers to see people in a new light - through his eyes, with his compassion. He modeled this by bringing a disparate group of people together and taught them to live, work and walk involve with one another. Fishermen, zealots, tax collectors, Pharisees, women of ill repute…these people would have never associated with one another. But in Jesus they loved, they served, and they changed the world.
Centuries later in a contentious election cycle, we are invited to change our perception. We’re challenged to move beyond ourselves and reach out to those who are least like us with love and compassion to see all the candidates - Hillary, Donald, Gary, Jill and anyone else - as people God loves. He invites you to see the people voting for these candidates (who may not agree with you) as people God loves as well.
Will you accept that challenge?
In August, I shared that I was finally coming to grips with the fact that life as I had known it has changed forever. There is no going back, nor picking up where I had left off. While at some level I already knew that, it was time to just face it squarely and plot a new course.
This doesn’t mean ignoring the needs of Mom and Dad. We’re committed to being there for them come what may. However, I had made my schedule so flexible and so available to accommodate whatever might happen, that I’ve failed to care for relationships or myself. I’ve failed to refill my reservoir for far too long.
This has required some thinking and soul searching. One area in need of change seemed to be my job situation. I need to work at least part time to pay my studio rent and the small business I work for had laid me off for eight months. It seemed it was time to look for employment that would work around my caregiving needs and art schedule With those things in mind, I began searching. Of course, as soon as I applied for a position I was called back to my job. Since it has very flexible hours and works around my caregiving needs, I’m staying there. At least for the time being.
Another area that needed to be addressed was being connected with community. To that end, after much prayer I’ve started a twice monthly gathering of artists of faith. People who use art as worship and prayer and are looking for a community that will join together in fellowship, and prayer. Not only inquiring of God, but listening for an answer. It has been far better than any of us had hoped and we all look forward to each meeting knowing that God will show up in prayer and in art. I’ve also started attending a church that is closer to my home which connects me to my own neighborhood.
Another effort to expand community has been to join Bible Study Fellowship, studying the gospel of John. While it’s a good spiritual discipline, I can already see it’s not a good fit. While I will complete the 30 weeks, I doubt I will do it again next year. But that’s the whole point - to try new things and see where it will lead. We're also considering raising a puppy for Paws for a Cause. Expanding our interests and connections.
Mike and I have been trying to be more intentional about spending time together with mixed results. A couple weeks ago we took a vacation day and went to the state capitol to be tourists. It was a fun change of pace, walking around Lansing on a lovely autumn day.
However, the next day Mom went into the ER for breathing issues associated with congestive heart disease. The next few days after that were spent trying to get her and Dad back on an even keel. We were back to our old ways in an instant. Mike was going one way, and I was going another. Cancelled appointments, and meeting with support staff.
Life is a work in progress.
Donna Kemper put aside her art career to care for a mother she hadn't seen in over a decade. For seven years she followed her mother's journey into dementia, caring for her and putting forgiveness into action.