4.01.2004

Yesterday, as I finished an upcoming article for our church newsletter, I began praying a prayer under my breath, whenever I think of it. The prayer was motivated by a song written by a good friend of mine. The song said quite simply, "All I want from this life... is to learn to love."

I was struck with the prayer contained within the lyric that the singer learn how to love others, rather than be loved by someone else. I realized that I have never prayed to learn to be better at the art of loving. I began to do so yesterday.

Since beginning to pray that prayer, I've had three simple lessons, one of which I want to share now.

I was sitting in my office this morning and David came and knocked on the door. David is a man who shows up at the church occasionally to ask for money or bus passes or the like. A few months ago I dropped giving out anything at all. I realized that I simply don't know where these things or this money is going when we give it out. So, we stopped giving any out. Quite frankly, I was glad to be rid of the burden.

This is what I'm thinking as David begins to tell his latest story. Out of the blue, like a word spoken from the prophets, that prayer shoots through my mind: "Lord, teach me how to love." I know right then that I will not turn David down. But I don't have the money to give him and I don't have any food certificates for the grocery store. "Oh no." I think to myself. "I'm going to have to drive him to the store."

So, I did. I drove David to the store, bought him a buss pass and some food gift certificates and then dropped him off at another location. The whole event took 30 minutes, tops.

And I'm thinking that I still don't know what he will do with these gifts or if this was the wisest thing to do. But I do know that however imperfect my actions may have been, however undesirable David's use of the gifts may be, I am learning to love a little better.

I guess I'll keep praying that prayer.