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Ash Wednesday

I spent a few days last week in Louisiana and then hit Nashville overnight for an LSU game on my way back to New England. I had opportunities to share several meals and/or ice cream dates with a handful of folks.

Something struck me as I was flying home on Friday. Each encounter I had with these precious friends and family members gave me the opportunity to converse and listen. What I learned was that every single person I spent time with was dealing with something hard - loss and grief, parenting struggles, unemployment, challenges of aging, loneliness, health issues, etc.

These were all current struggles not things of the past. I arrived home with a heavy heart.

When we travel beyond the Instagram and Facebook portrayals of our lives, we find that none of us have everything all together. None of us are immune from challenges and hard times. None of us escape the hard knocks that life often offers up.

Plato is attributed with saying, “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”

We all know that to be true. But I’m afraid that fact is not always on my radar. Life gets busy and I forget. I get self-absorbed. I become guilty of overlooking people and their pain.

God created us in such a way that we need each other.

“Shared joy is double joy; Shared sorrow is half a sorrow.” (Swedish proverb)

This Lenten season, I want to be present, to be attentive. I want to slow down and listen, to have the hard conversations, to hold and to hug, to have compassion for those I love both near and far, and to extend grace to all I encounter each day.

Come along?


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