Sara and I are taking this week off to refresh, enjoy our children and grandchildren and some time with some dear friends we have known for 25 years. Before I go, I thought I would leave you with this. It is one of the most touching emails I received this year.
A few months ago we had a young couple who was visiting Los Angeles stay with us for a couple of days and really enjoyed their fellowship. One afternoon we went outside for a walk after it had been raining. When we got back to the house we found the young lady’s shoes were coated with mud on the bottom. As she took them off at the back door, I scooped them up so I could wash off the mud, knowing they were packing later in the day for an early flight out in the morning. Little did I know what God was doing in her through such a simple act. Here’s what she wrote me later:
It really was such a blessing to be with you guys for a couple of days and hang out. I think I shared once with you that I didn’t have a great dad growing up. He was very harsh, unloving and absent. One of my most frequent conversations with God is that he would just help me understand the love of a father. Since I didn’t get to experience the earthly kind, I sometimes have a hard time accepting/understanding the spiritual kind. God is pretty cool, because since I started talking to him about it, he’s placed some of the neatest people and visual examples of it in my life.
I know you weren’t even aware of it, but seeing what an awesome dad you are touched my heart deeply. The way you interacted with your daughter was especially impactingl to watch. I love how you’re kinda sassy with each other (I can really relate to that), yet it was so obvious how much you adore her. Julie was joking about you washing my shoes… but it actually meant a lot to me. I can only imagine what it meant to the disciples when Jesus washed their feet. It was honestly humbling to watch you wash my shoes, yet it was also a very powerful act of love. What a beautiful visual picture of how much father loves me.
And what’s so cool about you, is that you are just so genuine. I think that when we genuinely love the people in our life, others around us can not help but see God in that. It’s so freakin cool! So, thank you for just being you. Because of it, I now have a great understanding of father’s love.
I love her statement that genuineness resonates with people where pretense doesn’t. I think that’s pretty cool as well. It also points to one of the things I love most about this journey. God seems to work best when we’re least aware of trying to do something for him or have a specific impact on someone’s life. Maybe that’s what makes it genuine.
I wasn’t even aware that she was being touched so deeply. For me, I just saw some muddy shoes that needed to be cleaned so they would have enough time to dry before she needed to pack them. It was the simplest of actions and yet it profoundly touched someone. And what I like best, is that I was completely unaware of it at the time. For one who used to be a performer, who couldn’t do hardly anything without the conscious thought of what other people would think of me, this is a great joy and glorious freedom. What’s more, for all that performing, no one ever seemed to get touched like this.
Could it be that simply living alongside others and loving them will accomplish everything God wants to do through us? We don’t have to have the conscious agenda of doing something so others will be touched. In fact, maybe it is best that we don’t.
Reality wins! It always wins! Performances, are just that. It’s who you are when the lights are off and the crowd has gone home that makes all the difference.