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My life is centered on love.  You can spend a lot of time debating the Scriptures and arguing theology or just simply surveying and commenting on the (and your) world.  I try to spend more time in the trenches.  I want to love my family.  I want to love my congregation.  I want to love people I come in contact with on a regular basis.  I want to love my neighbors, whoever they are.  I love to love strangers who least expect it.  I love…love.  As a follower of Jesus I represent Him and thus try to love people on his behalf (which He has commanded me to do).  I can’t imagine I’m equipped to do this (as I am a horrible and sinful person).  However, I trust more in Him loving people through me than I am concerned with my shortcomings.

That being said, I would like to shed some light on a few ways that I have been loved recently.  I do this pretty much without anyone’s permission but I won’t be telling your their names so I think that I’m in the clear.  You see, these people loved me to love/encourage/support me, not to be illuminated as an example.  Which is a great component of good love.

The first is two fold.  I received an email a few weeks ago from a very famous person.  I won’t include the letter inasmuch that it would give away the sender.  This person has tons of fans and lots of obligations.  For them to take the time to email me, encourage me, appreciate me…yeah, appreciate me (wow) is amazing.  He ended the letter with this paragraph…

“I have an original quote written on my mirror in dry erase marker. “Be grateful for the trials and tribulations in your life. It is what separates you from the ordinary man. Ordinary men crumble in turbulent times.” I wrote it, because it is easier to say than to live by that philosophy, so I read it as a reminder everyday.”

I’m going to use that…a lot.

It didn’t take him forever to write it, he had no idea how much of a fan I was of his.  Yet, he took the time to read my blog, visit my website, and act as he felt prompted.  I’m sure it meant more to me than he (a humble person…much as I know him) would ever realize.

The second example of how I’ve been loved recently is directly tied to the first.  You see, I have a friend who took the time to reach out to said famous person in the first example.  He did some online research and probably a little “creeping” as the kids call it these days.  He knew I was a fan of this guy and finally found someone who seemed to know him loosely.  He sent the friend an email, who then forwarded it to the famous person and boom, 12 hours later I’m being blessed.  He said it “only” took him a half hour or so but I was blown away that he even thought to do it!  The fact that he pulled it off is even more incredible.  Honored, humbled, appreciative, and  yes, loved is how I was left feeling.

The third just occurred on Father’s day.  Actually, it was just after midnight so technically it was just after Father’s day but I digress.  I received a private message and it read as follows.

Jay— I’ve heard most of social media boast of having the best dad on the planet today. I can’t help but to think the rating scale may be affected by bias and genetic connection. I suppose, “Happy Father’s Day to my dad; he’s in the 80th percentile” doesn’t sound as complimentary. I digress. Unless the people posting on social media are named Trey, Bella, or Joe—I’m not sure that those claims are accurate. Though you’re not my father—sorry if you were under a different impression—I have to say you’ve gotta be one of the best. The father and man you are to your kids in the most trying times (That’s what we call understatement.) is a lesson to all within your circle of influence. You also, no doubt, are a father-figure to many who do not have one. Your influence on those kids will have implications for years and generations to come. So for what it’s worth—and it’s not worth much, I’m giving you the Father of the Year Award. Thanks for being the man you are. If our times someday turn into the Bible II, I’m sure there’ll be a book of Jay. Love you, brother.

I am friends with this person but in more of a “if we weren’t both so busy we would do things together but we just see each other from time to time and nod or comment on each others social media” kind of way.  I respect him highly and wish we could see each other more often.  As it is, what did this cost him?  How much effort do you think it took?  Yet, it had a huge impact on me.  I felt blessed, appreciated, and encouraged.

I’m sure that each of the three people I have anonymously highlighted today had more than a few reasons to not do what they did.  They could have more than easily chosen to not follow their idea, their thought, (read: the Holy Spirit’s prompting) and done nothing.  However, they did do it…and I was loved.

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