1 Peter 3:8-12- Summing up: Be agreeable, be sympathetic, be loving, be compassionate, be humble. That goes for all of you, no exceptions No retaliation. No sharp-tongued sarcasm. Instead, bless- that’s your job, to bless. You’ll be a blessing and also get a blessing. Whoever wants to embrace life and see the day fill up with good, Here’s what you do: Say nothing evil or hurtful; Snub evil and cultivate good; run after peace for all you’re worth.
Feet, bare. Feet, tender hit sand then shell, beach walking on this glorious day. This Easter Monday day all wrapped in bluesky canopy. Canyons of solitude soak in the soul. Calm pierces gentle this time of solace and quiet therapy.
Registering the hot, the hard, the sharp, the rough. Tender feet. TENDER. And my thoughts do a mind drift, off untethered on a mile long stretch of beach. Drift over sand dune, dip and dive over windswept island, small with welcome written all over her. Alone in this beauty. Alone as I catch up to myself , and with myself.
And I step on a small beach twig. There among the sharpest of broken shell shards lie twigs that break my stride with pain.
And I wonder how so often the smallest and most unexpected things that come my way bear the biggest pain.
How a word or phrase or look can rob joy and break beautiful in half. Shatter the happy into broken. Stain the laughter with tears. How does the sensitivity to all make sensitivity itself a vehicle for pain.
In the tender places of the heart, is tough the opposite of tender.
Does ignore shield the soft places of the insides from hurt.
Will vulnerable always catch the unintended slight, not sent out by design to harm or wound.
I walk. I ponder. I wrestle.
Shrimpers nets drag the water for the one intended goal of copious amounts of glorious shrimp, but the unintended fills the nets as well. The unintended get caught in the nets and mingle with the bounty. Litter the boat deck ,waiting to be returned to the sea as waste and refuse. Weighing down the fragile netting are unwanted sea treasures. The nets become receptacles of all. Pick through save. Pick through discard. The trash takes up room intended for treasure.
David writes in Psalm 139, “God, investigate my life; get all the facts firsthand. I’m an open book to you; even from a distance you know what I’m thinking. You know when I leave and when I get back; I’m never out of your sight. You know everything I’m going to say before I start the first sentence. I look behind me and you’re there, then up ahead and you’re there, too- your reassuring presence, coming and going. This is too much, too wonderful– I can’t take it all in!”
And David continues in Psalm 139, “Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out; you formed me in my mother’s womb. I thank you, High-God you’re breathtaking! Body and soul, I am marvelously made! I worship in adoration–what a creation!”
“Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth; all the stages of my life were spread out before you. The days of of my life all prepared before I’d even lived one day.”
The nets take it all in and release that which has no value, which will burden the nets with added weight. The weight which rips and tears at the fabric, requiring stitching sewing and repairing before being let out again.
Repairing the damage. Stitching the holes, the holes in the receiver of all in a sea of life. The Blessings and that which needs throwing back. That which requires casting aside and over and away.
And I know that one small word can bring blessing and encouragement. One small phrase can build up, restore hope, lead to healing.
And one word can cut and bruise and sting.
How I have wounded and stung with a glance my eyes. How quickly words have shot out without carrying gentle and kind and tender with them.
I wince at the moments of calluous and misspoken moments. Where opportunity to bless and encourage were missed.
Where I was the twig. Where I did not run after peace. Where I was the broken shard of shell hurting the heel of a brother or sister in Christ, or child, or husband, or stranger or friend.
I have been the stinging word deliverer. I have been the messenger of hurt. I have delivered words that lead to tears.
The tender and sensitive that God wove in me have slept and remained idle while I placed hurt at the threshold of another life. Intended , unintended delivered nonetheless. My small has been their large. My flippant has been their signficant.
New mercy mornings bring His Grace, His Mercy, His Love and new found energy to run after peace.
And the nets go out. The words go out. The hearts go out.
Return with abundance by His hand. Fill and heal. Tender mercies new each day. Give Grace and tenderness to gently deliver to all we touch in our always wonderful sometimes messy often tender-hearted lives.
Running hard after the Peace.