Reflecting on Rapport….

It’s a quiet, lazy morning, with my daughter off to camp and my husband at work. I’m enjoying a second cup of coffee, pondering what to do with a day at home alone. I do enjoy time apart, but can’t imagine being on my own for long. So I was drawn to this amazing photo of my young friend Kellen, taken by her father Scott. Kellen has a gift with animals, a natural ease, a connection that goes beyond words. On a recent trip to Ireland, she sat down on a rock wall and these two horses came over to greet her. Scott took a whole series of photos, capturing the unfolding scene. Yet it was this photo that caught my eye. Kellen seems lost in the moment, at one with the horses. There is a zen quality about her posture and attitude, an ability to simply stop and immerse herself in the moment. The rapport between Kellen and the horses is palpable. It almost jumps out of the photo. Sometimes rapport is instant – we meet someone and feel we have known them our whole lives. More often, rapport is developed over time, our sympathies aligning as we know one another better and better. Perhaps we have weathered a crisis together, or forged a partnership working toward a difficult goal. While others were squabbling and tearing each other down, we worked seamlessly together, placing the mission before our personal satisfaction. Yet often the most powerful partnerships involve the most dissimilar pairings. The union takes on a life of its own, and takes us places beyond what we could hope for or begin to imagine. Take time today to look and listen to those placed in your life, perhaps even someone that annoys you. Let go of what you expect a new friend to look like, whether young or old, male or female, human or animal. Let God lead your heart and guide your soul. Pray to see one another through God’s eyes, and to hear one another through God’s ears. Allow room for the Holy Spirit to build a bridge between you, to form a new creation. And remember, when we allow ourselves to be vulnerable, to embrace the dissimilar, together we can become so much more than the sum of our parts. Text by Connie Chintall ©2012, Photo by Scott Levinson

Reflecting on Abiding Love….

The warmer weather has returned, to remind us summer is not yet over. Those prone to allergies are having a tough time, as the weather can’t seem to make up its mind. For those suffering from migraines, this is a day to simply roll over and pull the covers up over your head. So I was drawn to this photo of Seamus, taken by my young friend Kellen. Seamus is helping Kellen finish her homework, sort of. Mostly, Seamus is abiding with Kellen. The word abide is often misunderstood. The verb abide is equated with the noun abode, meaning your place of residence. To abide means more than to live somewhere. It’s like the difference between a house and a home. To abide means to remain steadfast, to conform, to submit. Abiding love is never ending love, unconditional love, love that submits even when the cost of that love is beyond anything you can imagine. I often use images in intercessory prayer. When someone I care for is undergoing immense challenges, or in great distress, I often picture them like Seamus, as a kitten curled up in the lap of God. Like Seamus caught up in the folds of this beautiful fabric, I picture my loved one enfolded in the abiding love of the Almighty. Too often we think the answer is to be strong, to struggle and fight. Yet that path limits us to a human solution. When faced with overwhelming odds, we must submit to a higher power, to the Author of Creation. No matter what we face, it is but a small thing to the same God who defeated sin and death on the cross. Take time today to rest in the abiding love of God. Let go of what burdens your heart, offering a simple prayer for yourself or for another. And like Seamus, let’s stop to curl up in the lap of God – there is plenty of room for us all. Photo by Kellen Levinson

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