Devotional 5/20/2020

Y'all I used to be smart.  I do not mean to brag (but I'm going to).  I was top of my classes in high school, college and seminary.  Not only was I book smart but I was able to quickly think on my feet and offer solutions in practical situations.  I was witty and funny.  I was good at mental math- not calculus but I could do algebra and geometry pretty well. And I was proud to be smart.  Not cocky, but assured of myself in my smartness.  

Then I had children and I became less smart.  My mom used to tell me she had been smart and then she had us.  I thought she was just being funny/mean.  But no it's true.  I don't mean to say I'm an imbecile (catch me when I am tired and I might be close) but I am less sharp.  I feel less clarity in my thinking.  I am slower to see solutions or witty replies.  And there are days this really bugs me, in large part because previously I had always been able to count on my smarts being there. I am not even remotely joking having children somehow made me less smart!  

However, as much as I miss being that level of smart, I do not actually regret being less smart.  Because what I got was so much more.  Belle and Amanda are well worth being slower in meetings and horrible at trivia.  I sacrificed something I held dear and I came out way ahead.  In its essence, I believed I sacrificed smarts for love and that is not a bad deal. 

This has been a season of sacrifice for many.  I know some of you might feel you have sacrificed some independence by staying home at the request of adult children and let them do our shopping.  We have sacrificed the ease of eating out for yet another home cooked meal (oh Bob Evans, I miss you).  We have sacrificed holidays and celebrations.  We have sacrificed visiting loved ones in nursing homes and in the hospitals.   We have sacrificed time with our children, grandchildren, parents and grandparents.  And it has been hard.  And now it is even harder, as we are all trying to find a way to live our lives with an element of calculated risk.  We want to be done sacrificing.  We want normal or really close to it.   

But one thing I believe we should cling to is that this sacrifice has been and is worth it.  Yes, because it helped 'flatten the curve.'  But also because it was born out of love.  It is out of love we have stayed apart, that we have stayed home, and more.  We love others and so we have done our part to keep them safe.  And when we get down to the heart of everything, sacrifice in love is almost always worth it.  

I hate wearing a mask.  It makes me feel hot, fogs my glasses and if I am honest I think just looks dumb on me.  Yet, whenever I go into public I wear one.  I wear one so that others are safe from me and so that they may feel more comfortable in my area.  But I also wear one because my mother and my husband have asked me to.  Quite simply, I sacrifice my own agenda out of love knowing that the mask gives comfort to my neighbors, my spouse and my mother.  

Now I am not getting into whether or not you have to wear a mask.  But I am saying that sacrifices should be made when we love each other.  Even now when we just want this all over and to get back to life.  We must all balance our own feelings and agendas with our love of others and what Christian love really looks like now.  Yes, we need to live our lives but if we are not willing to make any real sacrifices then we have missed the mark on Christian love.  

I think of Jesus in the garden when he prayed that this cup may pass him by.  Jesus had already sacrificed so much.  He gave up friends and family who thought he was crazy, he gave up having a steady home, he gave up living a good and easy life, he gave up peace and quiet.  Jesus has already given up so much in his life and he was tired of it.  He wanted the sacrifice to be someone else's turn.  But he knew that out of love he had to sacrifice again for all of us and he did it.  Out of love he sacrificed.  And then out of love, his apostles sacrificed in the days of the early church.  And in every generation since Christians have been called to sacrifice out of love for each other.  And this is our time to sacrifice.  But no matter how hard, sacrifice out of love is always worth it.