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The Coffee Mug
Living in community, there are times when I struggle with certain personalities. My inner wounds clash with theirs, leading to tensions and conflict.
One particular person comes to mind. It seemed we were continually at loggerheads, and the struggle was obvious to others. There never seemed to be kindness between us; in fact, we were hurtful to one another.
Several years ago, I made a 5-day retreat at Loreto House, a building we use for meetings, retreats, and vacations. After settling into my room, I went down to the kitchen to get myself a large mug for my morning coffee.
As I looked over the selections, my eyes fell on one that would be perfect. But the problem was that I recognized it as belonging to that same person I found so difficult. She had been staying at Loreto for a few days just before me and must have forgotten this mug.
“There is no way in hell that I am going to drink from that cup,” I vehemently said to myself.
Then I heard that still small voice: “Janine, would it be more bitter than the cup that I was asked to drink from?”
I was stricken. I took the mug off the shelf and drank from it every morning of my retreat. I realized that Christ was very near with each sip I took.
What’s Five Minutes?
One day, when I was working at the main house, I needed to get to St. Mary’s quickly. So rather than take a bike, which takes about ten minutes and would have the advantage of being good exercise, I took a car. I figure I shaved about five minutes off the trip.
When I drove back into the parking lot at the main house and parked the car, just as I was turning off the ignition, I heard the quiet voice say, “You just spent the widow’s mite.”
I was cut to the heart. We live by donations and I had not considered the cost of gas and the wear and tear on the car. This may not seem like a big deal, but it was for me that day. I have never forgotten it, and I hope I never will.
All or Nothing
Every once in a while, I get into a real pious frame of mind. One day I was praying, saying things like, “Lord, I want you to be a part of my life, a part of everything I do. I want you to be a part of my decisions, my conversations, and be involved in every part of my life.”
I was just drawing breath to continue in this vein when I heard a still, small voice ask a simple question:
“Janine, why am I not your all?”
I found that to be a very astute question, and I find myself still trying to answer it. Why and when is he not my all?