The rain to the wind said,
“You push and I’ll pelt.”
They so smote the garden bed
That the flowers actually knelt
And lay lodged — though not dead.
I know how the flowers felt.

~Robert Frost

I’m learning how not to be bowled over by the “pelting rain” of ministry. Some days it’s more difficult than others. It’s especially hard when I see someone headed for a head-on collision with reality. He or she is not listening to the advice or warning of those who surround them with love and prayers.

And when the crash happens, there really is nothing more to say.

Years ago in my earliest ministry jobs, I wanted to one of the “wise women” — or just to be “wise!” I looked up to women and men who seemed to understand how life rolled with its flubs and near-misses. I felt loved and accepted by them, even when I knew I was making squirrelly decisions. I knew their unconditional love was a mirror of God’s love for me.

“Maybe someday, I’ll be like them,” I thought. “I’ll bring some love and humor and wisdom into others’ lives. God help me, I really hope I do. Some day.”

Lately, I’ve been stressed by listening to others who are going through some very difficult life issues. And I’m finding as I listen that there’s really nothing I can say that helps. I can pray. I can sometimes offer a suggestion. But mostly, I just offer love.

In Kairos Outside, a ministry to women affected by incarceration, we have a saying:

Listen, listen. Love, love.

That works on so many levels, for so many situations. Wherever God places me today, in whatever the situation, may I hear the “wisdom from above.”

What of the wisdom from above? First, it is pure, and then peaceful, gentle, obedient, filled with mercy and good actions, fair, and genuine. James 3:17 CEB

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