- Don Miller (Blue Like Jazz)
I wish you could smell this.
It's fancy. It's French-milled, which I'm sure means something fabulous but please do not press me for details.
I paid $4.19 for one bar of soap. Outrageous! But please believe me when I tell you that it smells delightful and when I lather up in the shower and massage my skin with it's frothy, bubbly and lavender loveliness, I feel special.
Maybe even French.
Do you know that it is Spring Break here? Do you know that I am feeding cats for my friends while they are on beaches? Do you know that it stormed here last night and my world is once again white? Do you know that as I sit here and type, my screen door is getting beat up by the wind that is coming straight out of the North? Do you know that I ran to my car from my office this afternoon because of the cold wind on my face?
Just filling you in on some of my today details in case you were judging me for my French-milled purchase.
Please remember that it is lovely soap with a decadent lather.
And it is French-milled.
So let's move on.
What do you do to pamper yourself?
Do you think that pampering yourself is a way of loving yourself?
I'm hoping so.
I realized the other day that I would never, ever, in all my wildest dreams, talk to any of my fabulous friends the way I talk to myself.
I tell myself that I am not smart and that as a middle-aged woman I am becoming invisible. I catch myself whispering to me that I am nothing important and I have nothing valuable to bring or add to a given situation. Of course there are those days when I look in the mirror and have nothing flattering to tell myself. I point out all my flaws and completely ignore the good things.
I would never talk to, or treat my friends that way.
I have fabulous friends.
Let me tell you a little about them.
They finish nursing school right before they turn 50 and then start working on an oncology floor where they love and care for the very sick. They have students who claim them as their favorite professors and who address them as Dr. They give of themselves in classrooms and invest in, and pray for, their students. They walk through the fire with their precious children and then when the flames die down, they fix supper and do up the laundry. They take whatever job they have to to in order to make ends meet when financial bombs drop. They fight for and notice people that are not seen and who society has deemed as not-worthy. They take in family members who are struggling with addiction and they join in the fight and get dirty.
They cheer on their husbands - regardless.
They fight back.
They do it anyway even if they are scared, or hurting, or not sure what they are doing.
I have incredible friends.
So how can I love my friends the way they need to be loved if I don't love myself?
Knowing that God loves me and finds me worthy of His love, His grace, and His sacrifice, is completely different from believing it.
Knowing happens in the head. Believing happens in the heart.
Knowing may or may not change behavior. Believing changes everything.
Jesus said, "Love the Lord you God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your strength."
But he didn't stop there. He ended his thought by adding, "And love your neighbor as yourself."
If I love my neighbor the same way I love myself, I fear I would turn into a miserable woman. I would be wrinkled with wild, unruly hair. I would be all dried-up like those dried apple dolls you see in gift shops. I would have a house full of chickens that I would name and carry on conversations with.
I'd be a dried up, crazy-haired, chicken lady.
"Love your neighbor as yourself."
Jesus said it. It's time to believe it don't you think?
Excuse me while I go take a shower with my fancy, French-milled, lavender soap.
It's time to believe.