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I was thinking and praying about Joe and Bella the other day.  Nothing bad had happened but my heart was heavy for them given all that they have been through.  I had the idea to talk to them about how tough they were.  I would mention how that is some ways they are tougher than even me.  I thought to point out that they  have gone through something at their age that most people have not, and that me and many people my age have not.  They have lost a sibling (yes, I’m well aware that losing a child is a big deal but we’re talking about them).

I can’t wait to explain to them that they are still here, they are ok.  Did it hurt?  Of course.  Did it leave marks?  Absolutely.  Did they quit, are they down for the count, was it too much, have they been defeated?  Not at all.  They ARE ok and tougher for the experience.  They are great kids who love each other, their family, their friends and all of those in their world.

That is what moved me.  Their, my, our, your ability to love through trying (to say the least) times.  We are called to love, to be love, to a very unloved and at times unlovable world.  This can be tough on a good day or a pleasant season of life.  However, when the day is sludge and the season dark, are we able to love?

The answer is yes.  Do we always?  The answer is no.  Our goal must always be to love in all circumstances.  I find that as life goes on those challenges get bigger, the trying times more tryingingly.  Yet, we must love.

My mother very often would talk about points in heaven.  While their is little theological evidence of a point system there is some validity in the speaking of “rewards in heaven” and “jewels for your crown.”  While I don’t inherently believe in some ethereal points system, I do believe that if you can care for others when things are horrific that you gets bonus points from above.

Further, I have found that there is an increasing level of discomfort that was is/can be asked to experience and yet we are still called love.  If I am to be completely honest with myself that concept scares me as I have persevered and loved through much pain already.  What could possibly be next?  I’m sure that He will see me through that as He has every other but that does not mean that I am excited about it.

It helps me to keep things like this in mind.  So, bad things happen.  Maybe the seemingly worst of things happens.  Now, I can take the moment and ask myself, “Can I still love?”  I even can follow that with, “How and/or who can I love?”  I’m sure that the enemy wants to shut me down.  If I, while relying on the power of God, can push on and still love…we win.

The nice side effect of the tough times is that when you take the time and effort to love and care for someone even though your world is a dumpster fire, it really makes a difference.  It makes a difference certainly to those you have loved but it has an impact on you as well.

I look forward to having this conversation with Joe and Bella.  There will be a moment where it will be appropriate and timely.  They’re not quite unicorn rare moments but I’ll know it when I see it.  I’m prepared for them to sit quietly, look awkward, and say, “Ummmm, ok dad.” and I will love them through that.

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