Mind What's Left

In our Friday morning men’s study group, we have been reading 'The Haunt of Grace' by Ted Loder.  Last week we read a chapter in which Loder related a scene from Toni Morrison’s novel 'Jazz.'  In this scene two black women in their 50s are talking about what one of the women should do in regard to her philandering husband who may have killed the other woman’s niece in order to hide an affair.  The one woman asked, “What about it?  Do I stay with him?  And when he does it again?” Alice answers her, ”You got anything left to you to love, anything at all, do it.” “Mind what’s left to you.” 

Loder goes on to say “Just as are Violet and Alice, everyone is injured in some way.  Everyone has a pocket full of losses, harbors some kind of painful wound, walks with some sort of limp.”  All of us can easily fall into the role of victim about something in our lives.  We can all identify to one degree or another.  This situation really hit home to me and Jan as clearly applying to us in relation to Jan’s diagnosis of Parkinson’s Disease, now 5 years ago.  It is very easy and even natural to focus on what she and we cannot do in the face of the irreversible decline in physical capacity which is part of Parkinson’s.  

Yet when I came home from our group and told Jan the story of Alice’s advice to Violet, it really rang true to both of us. Mind what’s left.  Love what’s left.  There may not be as open-ended a future as what once appeared, and the future may carry great difficulty, but there is something yet to love and care about. There is much shared experience yet ahead of us and our two wonderful daughters.  We don’t know what all the future holds, but when we focus on loving what’s left, we are able to see grace all around us.  

There is undoubtedly something in your life that has been lost, that has gone.  What things remain?  Are they things that you can love?  Then love what’s left!  Loving what’s left does not in any way diminish what is gone, but allows you to focus on what God still has for you.  As you love what’s left, you will experience God’s grace anew.

Loving God, Thank you for your promise to be with us always. Help us to focus not on the things that are lost to us, but the things (and people) that you still have for us to love.  Help us to see your grace in our lives. Amen

Dave Erickson-Pearson

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