Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Testify to love

Sometimes all it takes to wake you up is a good funeral. Good funeral is not an oxymoron. Today I learned that even "joyful funeral" is not an oxymoron. Have you ever seen people wave flags and sing praise at a funeral? Neither had I, until today. I wonder what the people from the funeral home thought.

This incredible woman of God, Susan Bodnarchuk, battled cancer at four different times in her life. Obviously, for her, life was too short and uncertain to waste it on self-pity. She spent her life on God. She spent it on her friends and family. She spent every cent of it. She got a standing ovation at her funeral for it. The testimony and legacy she left, proclaimed at her funeral, strengthened the faith of every person packed into the sanctuary, and, I'm sure, inspired the birth of new faith in many who, for the first time, realized that God was the source of every good thing in her life.

One person said that Sue pictured being with God after she died, and hearing him ask her, "Sue, did you learn how to love?" That hit me. Beth, did you learn how to love? Of course, that's the most important question. Because that's the most important command - Love the Lord your God, love your neighbor. This is why I'm alive. I sat there feeling like a fool. I've wasted so much of my time on myself, wrapped up in how things make me feel, how they affect me, whether things are fair or unfair. Especially lately. It's not Sue's death that makes me want to live, it's her life. It's such a good reminder from me, straight from God, right in the busiest time of the semester when I could very easily become completely self-absorbed. Please, all of you, if you notice me doing this, let me know before I waste any more time.

Thank you, to all of you, for giving me the chance to learn how to love you, and to learn how to love God through loving you. Love means being vulnerable, love hurts - I will be thinking about this on Good Friday - but love is always worth the pain - I will be thinking about this on Easter Sunday. There is immeasurable joy ahead. Sue is experiencing it now. I hope my funeral will be like hers. I want to bring as much glory to God as she did. I want to finish well. Since I don't know where the finish line is in my life, I need to run hard all the time. Love hard all the time. There is so little time. There are so many people to love. There is one amazing God to love. I need to start right away, this very minute.

Read Eph. 5:1-2 again- I quoted it in my last blog entry. I almost typed it all out again for this one. It's still blowing me away.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Sharpies are poisonous and gum is gross

I apologize for the mood I might be in, which may or may not affect the humour of this blog entry, or lack thereof. It comes from paper-writing. Once again, I'm trying to write a paper, and I suddenly feel the urge to blog. Don't ask me why this happens during paper-writing. I guess I'm especially verbose, yet tired of writing in French. Maybe one day I'll write a blog in French when I'm not so tired of the language.

I thought I should update you on my progress, referring to my last blog, about thinking about God every minute. Well, I'm sure not up to "every minute", but I do think I've made some progress. I have much more frequent conversations with him. I've experimented with different ways of reminding myself to do this. Funny you should mention Sharpies, Evan, because lately I have been writing a small cross on my hand with a black Sharpie as a reminder to include God in everyday activities. When I see it, I remember to talk to him. I am sure if I continue this on a regular basis the Sharpie ink will leak into my veins and poison me. I considered tattooing my hand. This would probably be the only reason I would consider getting a tattoo - if it means making God a larger part of my life, without risk of poisoning, what could hold me back? So far, the only thing holding me back is the slight possibility I will become a secret undercover missionary to Muslim people or people otherwise hostile to Christians, in which case the tattoo could be even more risky than Sharpie poisoning. So it is a dilemma. I will continue to keep you updated.

Also, I gave up MSN for Lent. This was a big step for me, I thought, but I haven't actually missed it as much as I thought I would. The only thing I miss is being able to have open-ended conversations. It's hard to be on the phone and leave air space for 10 minutes when you have nothing to say. In general, though, I have fewer misunderstandings with friends. I don't feel like I need to be talking to them at all times. I sleep more. I am more productive with my homework. Except right now. Right now, I am not being productive. But I'm almost done, and I'll get back to productivity. Anyway, for anyone who feels addicted to MSN, like I was, I recommend going cold turkey for a while. It worked for me. Either that or get the patch or the gum. On second thought, don't get the gum. Gum is gross.

On that note, I leave you with a passage from the Message that I've been trying to memorize:

"Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behaviour from their parents. Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with him and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn't love in order to get something from us, but to give everything of himself to us. Love like that." (Eph. 5:1-2)

Love like that.

P.S. Speaking of love, cell group girls, don't forget your assignment to find a future husband. Due Monday. 10% off for each day you're late. 10% off your marital happiness, that is.