My parents have passed a lot of wisdom on to me. One bit of wisdom emerges from this question: “Would anyone notice from a passing horse?” If I had a bad hair day, or if a car splashed mud on my pants walking to school, I’d be asked that question – would a person on a passing horse notice? I took that phrase to mean two things: first it was pretty unlikely that someone traveling by on a horse would even notice my mud-splashed pants or hair style; and, second, people are really caught up in their own lives and what they might think was earth shattering really had very little importance in the scheme of things. To get to the point, horses have blinders and so do people; they probably wouldn’t notice trivial things so why get upset about them?
The second bit of wisdom -- “What difference does it make?” If I was deciding between two high school electives, they might ask, “What difference does it make?” I’ve come to realize my parents were trying to instill in me some perspective: what difference will it make in your life and what difference can you make in others’ lives if you do this or that. “Should I try out for football or stay in band,” I’d ask. What difference did it make? I dropped football and kept up with music. Later on, I got paid to play the trombone and I think performing made people happy. No one would have paid me to play football and probably no one would have enjoyed watching me play.
This week my daily Lenten practice (found at d365.org) included this: “What difference does your being a child of God make in the way you live your life together with God and others?” I have been pondering this question from my own personal perspective. Being a child of God, what difference do I make in my life with God and others.
In the next couple of weeks, the Church calendar celebrates the lives of many saints, including John and Charles Wesley, the martyrs Perpetua and Felicity, Gregory – Bishop of Nyssa, Gregory the Great, Bishop Cyril, and Saint Joseph. These are giants in the life of Christianity. Google search any one of them and you’ll see that their lives as children of God made a difference to God and others.
Does one need to be a “saint” to make a difference to God and others? I don’t think so. We have a parishioner who when younger (like, in her early seventies) used to fill her car up with expired food from the grocery store and drive it to a local food bank. She’s a child of God and, I can say with certainty, she made a difference to God and others. This past week, a parishioner found herself holding the hands of a co-worker to pray for his sick mother. Additionally, some folks from church this past Wednesday made a big spaghetti dinner for the homeless shelter on F Street. And yet another visited someone in the hospital and truly made her day; and, on the same day, a parishioner drove some folks to church who needed a ride. What a wonderful example they are this Lenten season for being children of God and making a difference for God and others.