Tuesday, April 23

Oh Love That Will Not Let Me Go

It was at some point during the winter of my freshman year of college when my friend Catherine lost her bracelet.  Actually, Catherine was more than a friend; she was busy pouring her life into mine, day after day. She met with me in the dorm for a bible study once a week and hung out with me on a daily basis.  To say that I loved her would be a huge understatement, and my roommate felt the same way.

On her way across campus one night, the latch on her bracelet came undone, and when she reached our room, Catherine noticed it was gone.  She was so sad, and a brief search began.  We retraced her steps with no luck whatsoever.  We hung out a bit, and she headed home for the night, still sad about her loss.  As my roommate and I got ready for bed, we talked about Catherine and how much that bracelet meant to her. We decided that we would head back out and look again.  We walked across that campus so many times, so many different ways.  We looked everywhere.  We prayed that God would let us find it, and after an hour or so, we spotted the glimmer on the ground.  We found it!!  We were so excited to have Catherine's bracelet, and so happy to be able to return to her what was lost.  Catherine even went so far as to compare our joy (and hers!) to that of the parable of the lost sheep.  That saving one lost sheep would be so joyful to our God.

I have thought about that bracelet a lot over the last few days because I have misplaced a bracelet that means a lot to me.  A friend gave it to me recently, and I smile every single time I look at it.  It reminds me that I am loved, and truthfully, I have such a hard time remembering that some days.  I know that the bracelet must be in my house somewhere, but I just haven't been able to put my hands on it.  And unlike my college days, I don't have several hours in a row to invest in searching it out.  I am resigned to searching while I can and waiting hopefully for it to appear.  It hasn't appeared yet.

But just pondering it all, I have spent a lot of time thinking about what it really means to love and invest in someone.  My bracelet represents that to me, just as the search for Catherine's bracelet represented that for her.  So often lately, I have retreated back into myself because life just seems easier that way.  But the truth is that life in this world is never really easier alone--we were created to relate to others, to interact with each other, to encourage each other, to push each other forward.

The years have marched by quite quickly; I am much older.  But I am still searching for a bracelet.  And I still have a few friends who will not let me retreat too far inward, whose love will not let me disappear as I am apt to do.  I am so grateful for that--for a weekly time set aside to share our hearts, to celebrate life's ups and downs, to be a part of something bigger than ourselves.  It is something that some people miss out on entirely--sometimes because they aren't even aware community like this exists, and sometimes because they choose to miss out.  Either way, I am super-grateful that I have a few women in my life that won't let me opt out and love me with a love that will not let go.  I am so grateful to get the chance to invest in others and be invested in, despite my own mess and my own sin.  God really is good regardless of how we feel or how it seems.

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