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Faith Formation Ink Slingers Lynette Prayer

When You Say You Love Me

When You Say You Love Me

“I love you.” Three small words, but put together, they are the most profound three-word sentence that can be spoken using the many languages of humanity. Not unlike the ancient Greek philosophers who tried to define differing “types of love”, we continue to struggle with its multiple meanings today – from using it casually to express our feelings for our simplest preferences, such as “I love pizza,” to using it in its more deeper sense to try to adequately express our most intimate feelings in interpersonal relationships when we say, “I love you, ________.”

We humans have a significant handicap when it comes to love. Our fallen human nature will forever prohibit us from being able to experience, both in giving and receiving, truly authentic love. Yet that desire is written deep within our hearts and we are driven to search, often at great costs, to find it. Some are blessed to come into this world with a glimpse of what authentic love looks like. Some, much less fortunate, come into the world lacking anything that even remotely resembles authentic love. Then, as we journey through life, trying to navigate the numerous and differing types of relationships, we hunger to hear those three words. Whether it is a relationship with a parent, child, relative, friend, spouse, etc., we all long to be heard, understood, accepted – to know we are loved by others’ affirming us in word and deed. What we sometimes experience, however, is the exact opposite. With such obvious disparity prevalent in our worldly experience of love, is it any wonder we fail so often at what we all so desperately yearn for?

Creation very often reveals human nature in its beauty and its brokenness.  As I walked the beach one day trying to process what had happened between myself and a friend, it struck me how much “love” is like the ocean. Vast, deep and dark in parts, shallow and light in parts, some days rough, other days calm, stretching out beyond where I can see or comprehend – it encompasses all I can “experience” in love – enjoyment, relaxation, intimidation, inspiration, admiration, uncertainty, peace, thanksgiving, change, stability, rejuvenation, … and the list goes on…

When we choose to love, our “loves/relationships” are like shells that get tossed about the depths and shallows, carried by the tides of the ocean, eventually washing up on shore to be exposed to the bright light of day. Some of those loves make it to shore, small but whole and colorful. Some wash up still beautiful in appearance, but broken or with the tell-tale holes made by boring predators. Others, once part of something much more elaborate and grander, are now but a mere fragment of what they had been.  Exposed to the light, we are sometimes given a chance to examine and admire them for their beauty, despite their altered appearances. Sometimes, however, the tides come and sweep them back to the sea before we know it, sinking to the depths out of view, or tumbling about aimlessly among the waves, only to wash up, once again, on the shore.

Our human endeavors at loving seem to mimic the shells. Some loves leave us whole, but only a small version of who we can be. Some wash us up, still beautiful, but broken or with the scars of battle. Others allow us to grow into something elaborate and grand, but eventually leave us mere fragments of who we had been.  If we are fortunate,we will be given the enlightened opportunity to examine and admire the beauty in our relationships despite how they have altered us. There will be times, however, when our loves/relationships will slip out of our grasp and we will either have to relinquish them, or try to navigate the “bumpy ride” to bring them back to safe shores where they can be admired once again.

It is no surprise that the majority of shells on the beach are broken and altered, just like most human loves/relationships are broken and altered because of our inability to love authentically. Does that mean we are left then to journey through life broken and altered and without hope of finding that love we yearn for or to hear those three words said authentically? Every day we take the “good” we have experienced and the “bad” we have experienced in our loving and venture out into the vast ocean of humanity, hoping to “get it right.”

As I walked along the beach pondering this analogy, a shell just ahead on the sand caught my full attention. Brilliantly white, perfectly whole, nothing hidden, fully exposed to the light – the answer to loving in its completeness. Only one love/relationship can be everything that shell represented – the “I love you” God spoke when He chose to share our humanity, living on this earth to show me how to love, the “I love you” He spoke when He stretched out His arms on the cross, the “I love you” He spoke when He formed me in my mother’s womb, the “I love you” He speaks now every second of every day through the loves/relationships I currently have in my life (yes, even the difficult ones and the times I fail to love as I ought).  Until my earthly loves/relationships are examined in His light and then transformed (“broken and altered”) into reflections and mirror images of His love for me, I will continue to fall short of giving and receiving love authentically. It is only when I allow Him to transform my feeble attempts at loving that they will become occasions of grace, healing, freedom, fulfillment, and authenticity; only then will the shells in my life be whole, white, pure, and sanctifying.

Josh Groban’s song, “When You Say You Love Me” recently came up on one of my music stations.  As I drove home from the beach, the words came to me again, but this time, I found myself singing them in response to the best “I love you” I could ever hear and the only “I love you” that will ever authentically fulfill my heart’s greatest desire for love.  In this month of “love”, as you celebrate the loves in your life and perhaps mourn the loves where you have failed, may you hear the “I love you” He longs for you to hear – the one true love you have this side of heaven and the only love that can transform our earthly love into a glimpse of the divine.

When You Say You Love Me

Josh Groban

Like the sound of silence calling

I hear your voice and suddenly I’m falling

Lost in a dream

Like the echoes of our souls are meeting

You say those words, my heart stops beating

I wonder what it means

What could it be that comes over me

At times I can’t move

At times I can’t hardly breathe

 

When you say you love me

The world goes still, so still inside

When you say you love me

For a moment, there’s no one else alive

 

You’re the one I’ve always thought of

I don’t know how but I feel sheltered in your love

You’re where I belong

And when you’re with me if I close my eyes

There are times I swear I feel like I can fly

For a moment in time

Somewhere between

The heavens and earth

I’m frozen in time

Oh when you say those words

 

When you say you love me

The world goes still so still inside

When you say you love me

For a moment, there’s no one else alive

 

And this journey that we’re on

How far we’ve come and I

Celebrate every moment

When you say you love me

That’s all you have to say

I’ll always feel this way

 

When you say you love me

The world goes still so still inside and

When you say you love me

In that moment, I know why I’m alive

 

When you say you love me

 

When you say you love me

Do you know how I love you?

 

Categories
Alyssa Azul Consecrated Life Faith Formation Ink Slingers Prayer Single life Spiritual Growth Vocations

A Visit from Upstairs

A Visit from Upstairs

Left, Sr. Cora and me (December 30th, 2018), Right: My great-aunt Vilma Ranada and me 2016 ( December 30th 2016).

***

Each photo taken exactly 2 years apart.

“I promise you it’s going to be worth it.”

Entering 2019 has never began with such an affirmation from on high.  My testimony begins with my encounter with a quirky sister.

I spent December 28-January 1, 2018 at Catholic Christian Outreach (CCO)’s annual Rise Up, a national conference for young adults between 18-35, as well as those who serve in and are a part of a religious order. What an environment it was, to be surrounded by hundreds of university students, priests, religious sisters, seminarians, and educators. My intention for going to this congress was to escape. Burnt out by my service in my ministry, as well as frustrated with my dying faith, I was in need of a complete spiritual revival. Little did I know that the Lord was bringing me to this conference for a very particular reason. He had something in store as a part of His plan, and not my own.

During that weekend there was a Vocation Brunch for women who were curious about what religious life looked like. I wanted to attend this brunch, but it was already at full capacity when I tried signing up a few weeks back. Low and behold, 30 more spots had opened up on that very morning so you’d better believe I raced to that ballroom. There were over 30 sisters from orders across Canada, and I had never seen a room so full of virtue, light, and joy.  

A short and sweet-looking sister stepped up to the front. Sister Corazon, the vocations director from the Salesian Sisters of St. John Bosco was called up to give a testimony about her calling, and something about her struck me a little strangely. She was sharp, witty, and very charming. She talked about how her calling was to serve the young, and I could see the joy coming out of her ears as she spoke about how much she loves teaching children. Her gestures, and her way of speaking seemed very familiar to me.

Something inside of my heart told me to meet her. She took me by the arm immediately, linked mine through hers, and chatted my ear off in a half English, half-Tagalog. It clicked. She reminded me so much of my late great-aunt Vilma, whom I called Lola V (grandmother). Her and I were close, and she often messaged me on Facebook. Vilma was also a teacher, and she had a powerful presence…I would describe it as “unstoppable”. Memories flood my mind and heart of my visit to the Philippines in December of 2016. Lola V would always link arms with me and pull me through the market. She was always on the go— quick but never enough to miss shooting a smile or “hello” at the people around her. She had a boisterous spirit, very similar to Sister Cora’s. The resemblance was so uncanny that I had to tell her.

“Sister, I hope you don’t take this the wrong way, but you remind me exactly of my late grandmother. It’s so strange but you speak just like her too!”

She was delighted, and I continued to show her pictures and tell her stories.

Later that afternoon I went to the chapel to “reconvene” with God, and ask him why I had been experiencing spiritual desolation. In the silence of my prayer, I froze.

Child, it’s me.”

I heard a voice inside my heart and I dropped to my knees.

I checked my phone to check what I thought couldn’t be.

My great aunt died on December 31, 2017.

Today was her death anniversary.

Her voice was like whisper. She told me happy she was and that she missed me. She told me, like she always did before, to take care of my family, especially my mom. She told me that she was visiting me and that meeting Sister Cora was no coincidence. After my many tears, she left me with a final instruction: to to allow God to embrace me right now, because that’s all he’s been wanting to do.

“I know the burdens you’ve been carrying, but I promise you it’s going to be worth it.”

I knew then and there that I was not alone in my suffering.

Vilma was a fearless woman who experienced so much tragedy in her life, but she never let go of God’s promise to her– and that it what I will never forget.

The next day I told Sister Cora about my experience and she teared up. She said she would lift up a prayer for my great aunt.

This was my first time experiencing or receiving some sort of sign from relatives who had passed so I was shaken. Even writing this now I feel vulnerable. I knew deep down that it was one of the things that the Lord had wanted to show me, and that he was doing his everything to remind me how much He loves me.

A Visit from Upstairs, www.catholicsistas.com

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Domestic Church Faith Formation Ink Slingers Marriage Martina Matrimony Prayer Sacraments Vocations

Marriage is Hard, So Here’s Some Advice You Can Use

MarriageIsHard - So Here's Some Advice You Can Use

Marriage is hard.

The sky is blue and bears live in the woods. I know this title doesn’t suggest any shocking or ground-breaking revelation. I mean, after all, all of us are either married, know someone who is married, lived in a home with parents who were married or have seen married people on television. 😉  We’ve all seen marriage in its many forms, I’m guessing. But if you aren’t actually married – single and looking, single and not looking, dating and/or engaged – it’s hard to know exactly what you’re getting into. Even under the best of circumstances, couples who marry will find struggles along the way. Marriage wasn’t meant to be easy, but it was always meant to be what points us to heaven. Each spouse is tasked with getting the other to heaven – heavy, huh?

I once heard on the radio a really good point made by a priest who hosted the show. He spoke of marriage prep and the length of time most dioceses prepare a couple for the sacrament of marriage vs. priestly formation, which typically takes seven years. His take was that couples are not spending enough time properly discerning marriage or with the proper disposition of heart. The secular push (and this is now my own observation) has a very set timeline. Timelines that are typically attached to availability of venues – be they churches and halls or hotels for the reception. I can attest to this as a former wedding photographer myself. I saw it in the frenzied clients I worked with and then even in my own journey to the altar for my wedding. Did I mention there is the perfect date, too? That date can also dictate the timeline to logistically prepare for the wedding date.

But…aren’t we called to a better discernment, free of distractions and timelines?

Here’s the flip side.

Can you imagine dating someone for SEVEN years just to see if he/she was the right one? While seven years isn’t practical in terms of a dating to engagement to wedding timeline, the idea that discernment for marriage ought to be longer than it is, with more grounding in intentional spiritual formation does seem to be a good direction. Whatever your timeline, be aware that the key to going forward and creating a rich foundation to build your upcoming marriage should strive to be rooted in God first, timelines and desires second. 

So…what exactly do healthy marriages look like and what can a single person glean from a post like this? Let’s explore a bit, shall we…? I asked – let’s call them the big brain trust. These are ladies I call friends who I’ve known for many MANY years – some online, some in real life for real and raw marriage advice. It’s a messy sacrament, that thing called marriage. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you might sneeze, but trust me, you will walk away from this post with some idea of what you’re in for – the good, the bad, the ugly, but most of all, the root of what marital love really can be. So, grab your coffee and we’ll get started. 🙂 

 


SO, HERE’S SOME ADVICE YOU CAN USE

The kids are not number 1.

You should go to those stupid marriage communication seminars even at years 5, 10, and 15. You might learn something you forgot you knew, something you put off doing. You might make fun of everything they say and remember why you uniquely work together.

You should definitely have the priest over for dinner.

You should have people you are friends with that you aren’t friends with because your kids like their kids. Unless you come from an extremely healthy family of origin, don’t tell them your problems with each other.

Have your own hobbies, make sure your spouse has their own.

Encourage each other.

Dream about the future together.

When you get teenage babysitters, go on adventures together again.

Nfp sucks, if you have a chance/choice to abandon it and ttw, do.

~ Kat W.

***

Pray for each other, make time for each other WITHOUT the kids

learn each other’s love language, remember all the things that love is.

Sometimes it IS ok to go to bed mad. Being tired and upset, isn’t the most conducive to having a productive discussion. Sometimes a clear head in the morning is better.

Lisa S.

***

There will be ups and downs. You’ll experience greater joy than you could have ever imagined and then sometimes you’ll get into a huge fight about whether the ceiling fan should be off or on.

~ Christine H.

***

Learn and understand each other’s love languages.

Have a saying, or multiple sayings, that reminds you both that you are on the same team.

Know that you may have different “dictionaries”, and use certain words in a way that is misinterpreted by the other, remembering -same team.

Help support one another in having ample spiritual feeding time/opportunities.

~ Cindy R.

***

Have the utmost respect for one another, never belittling the other, especially in front of others.

Know that there are going to be times when you feel like you’re clawing your way through hell, but one of you will have the strength to climb up and throw the other a rope.

Have a good strong prayer life …Mass/rosary/receive holy communion together and spend time alone…dates…movie night etc. Laughing, talking, venting.

Affection is so important, too…(lots of hoochie ?) and doing nice things for each other, surprises to make the other feel really loved and taken care of. Be mature…listen/discuss/disagree like rational people.

~ Sarah G.

***

If you think you will always be giddy in love, you won’t. You have to want to be married. You have to believe in staying married. Society offers too many outs, too many opportunities to think you should have more. You need to realize you already do have more, a life partner, someone who accepts you as a whole person. The catch is, you have to accept them, too.

I have seen long marriages as a nurse and I have seen them under tremendous strain due to illness. Always say please and thank you to your partner. Serve your partner. Love them at their worst and remember them at their best. Do what is best for them. Be patient, be kind and save your best for them, they deserve it.

And pray. Always pray.

~ Melanie M.

***

If it crosses your mind that it would be nice to do something little for your spouse, but you feel super burned out or tired, do it anyway. A foot rub, an unexpected love note, a phone call just to say “hi,” taking the extra effort to make sure his dress shoes are clean or his favorite shirt is hanging up for him to wear again. Whether or not he is aware of the extra effort it takes doesn’t matter, because he will feel truly loved and appreciated.

Let them know that you value their skills as a provider. Thank them for their dedication to work so that your family can meet needs and even wants. Let them know that you feel secure when they are around.

Take turns giving each other time (and resources) to do what “feeds” you as individuals. Remember that you are stronger as a couple, and keep your relationship in good condition with dates – even at home watching a show one night a week.

Pray together – take turns leading, and thank God for the gift of your spouse in specific ways.

And laugh together! Laugh at the good times and the bad times! We ALWAYS have something that gets royally messed up when we go on a vacation – it is what it is and we chalk that up as part of the experience. Laughing at yourselves and each other and the things that sink will get you through A LOT.
HAVE FUN. 

Know your temperaments/tendencies. He likes to solve problems, but I like to just be listened to. If I don’t want to hear his problem solving idea, I will tell him that I just need him to listen. In time, I usually ask for his advice anyway and we both win. 🙂 Sometimes I get overwhelmed and have to spill out everything that is on my mind, that I regret, that I am sad about, that bothered me a month ago and is stupid and I don’t know why it still bugs me – I can tell him, “Babe, I have to do the “melancholic dump” on you today. I’m really sorry, but I will get out of this funk if you just let me pour it out…will you please give me 10 minutes to just pour it out?” Then he doesn’t feel like I am oddly attacking him for something, or wonder if I am gearing up to drop horrible news on him or anything. It just helps to know who you are and work with/around it. 🙂 But it does take time to get there!

~ Katie

***

Love isn’t really a feeling – it’s more of a choice. When my husband is acting like a selfish jerk, I desperately don’t want to do some of the little extra things to make his life easier, but I feel like that is when its most important. It even seems to make me feel less angry when I do.

Also, if there’s a problem, don’t just sweep it under the rug. It’s one thing to take some time to get a clear head and really think things through, but it’s really important to talk about these things before they become an even bigger issue.

~ Jessica G.

***

When you can only think of responding to a situation with anger … wait … pray … breathe… usually you can find a way to communicate without tearing each other down.

Go out without kids. If that’s expensive (babysitting & cost of meals or entertainment, etc) instead, make the kids an easy dinner put them to bed and order in … talk to each other about the things that brought you together in the first place … talk about your hopes and dreams. Be present. Don’t chat about daily chores or stressors … that’s later. Try to set a date night like that at least every other week. It’s not expensive … but it’ll keep you connected.

~ Donna S.

***

Sexual intimacy is important. When TTA, find other means of intimacy — hugging, back rubs, holding hands, kissing. However, when you are both able to engage, do! Often!

Never use words of insult. No name calling, no belittling.

~ Charla S.

***

There will be ups and downs, make the decision to be married and to be kind every day. Oh, and separate comforters!

~ Jen M.

***

There is a difference between arguing a lot and domestic abuse. If you aren’t sure which one is happening in your marriage, talk to a counselor. It doesn’t mean yourmarriage has to end either way. Don’t be afraid to see amarriage counselor. Lots of strong married couples go or have gone to marriage counseling. The longer you wait to fix a problem (or hope that it fixes itself on its own) the more difficult it will be to fix it when you finally do start to do the right work.

~ Elisa L.

***

Just keep hanging on. Remember you are literally creating a building block for society. Your mission is so much bigger than just the two of you.

~ Amy V.

***

Put God first, because happiness will not be found in each other. God is the source of joy. Somehow God provides, so do not worry and argue. Save. Save memories, save time for each other, save resources.

~ Abi W.

***

When you are in the thick of it, step back and remember the person you fell in love with.

***

Start each morning and end each day with a deep embrace. It connects you in a very intimate way and starts and ends the day on the right foot.

~ Martina


What would you add to this list to share with dating and engaged couples?
Categories
Alyssa Azul Conversion Ink Slingers Spiritual Growth Testimonials

Loving Me Through Him

image credit: https://pixabay.com/en/hiker-hiking-nature-hipster-solo-846094/

Love your neighbor as yourself (Matthew 22:39) we are told. This is the second greatest commandment. What does loving yourself look like? The answer lies in the first (Matthew 22:37), “love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.”

I realized very quickly that I could not love myself by my own strength. I needed to look beyond myself and my neighbors. My journey towards self-acceptance began in a dark place during my adolescent years.

I was bullied for being short, quiet and more plain-looking than the other kids. We didn’t have a lot of money growing up so I didn’t have the newest, most up-to-date clothes and technology that it seemed everyone else had. You know what they say– “the kids in middle school can be so cruel!” But what was more cruel were the things that I heard in the silence of my own thoughts. I was that 13-year-old girl who buried herself between the pages of Chicken Soup for the Soul. It was a heartbreaking way of coping with the teen angst–you knew that most kids had to endure and attempt to master the awful art of fitting in, yet you felt like nobody could possibly have it worse than you.

The older I got, the more and more I disliked who I was, outside and inside. I was achingly awkward and always treated as a doormat among my “friend” group. I was the last and the least among my peers. I stayed up at night wishing that I could wake up one day and be a completely different person. I didn’t understand why God had made me this way, especially feeling like the fact that I didn’t look like my peers was a punishment of sorts. I hoped and prayed that one day I would get my turn as the heroic female lead. That I would be feminine enough. That I would be strong-willed and fearless. That someday someone else would love me.

At 17 years old I entered into a relationship with someone who showed me that love was…conditional. That loving someone meant you had to compromise your dignity. The idea that “if you give me what I want, or if you measure up, then I’ll love you.” Sadly, I am one of many girls who share this experience of attaining love, whether it be from a boyfriend, friend, or family member.

Because I was young and this relationship was not Christ-centred, I had no idea how to love someone else. I had lost my self-respect, settling for giving my all to someone else in order to prove myself useful and worthy. Sometimes I wonder why God didn’t wake me up from this bad dream. Why didn’t he reveal himself to me as, putting it lightly,  the man I had been searching for all my life.

All this time I was looking to be noticed by God, He was really waiting for me to notice Him first. My insecurities broke me from the inside, enough for God to find His way in. He didn’t embrace me like a heavy storm, but like a soft, gentle rainfall. Often, only through tears did I see Him.

I truly believe that these painful growing experiences really do show you what you are made of. Our brokenness is an offering that brings us closer to God, and ultimately who we are meant to be (Psalm 51:17). It’s like starting life from taking your first steps, finding out which things are stable enough to hold onto, versus the things that falter when you lean on them. I think we often end up choosing the weaker, more unsteady foundations. Like that child, what we need is someone to take our hand and carry us. We are lost sheep, in need of guidance. (Isaiah 40:10-11).

Today, I still have times when I don’t love who I am. Loving myself was never about seeing myself as a new person healed from all the hurts of the past. Loving God showed me that my brokenness had a purpose. It’s about seeing yourself as God sees you, even with the cuts and bruises of our sin. What does loving yourself look like? It looks like mercy. Our journey towards holiness is learning how to love as the Father loves. This doesn’t mean we will be able to love perfectly, but we know that we aren’t able to love ourselves fully without knowing and loving God first.

Categories
Ink Slingers

A Deeper Look

My mom and I share an interest in flower gardening. Over the years, she has given me many “starts” from her perennial gardens, and I try my best to keep them alive. Sometimes it works, other times I am forced to take the walk of shame from the flowerbed to the garbage can to toss the feckless, fruitless, failure into the bin.

A few years back she gifted me with one of her “money plants” that grew for years in wispy waves in the flowerbed along her garage. I always admired the cuttings she made from the plants every fall. Delicate, pearlescent silver dollars dangled from tall stems in a vase on her table. No additional flowers were needed to brighten the arrangement— these beauties made a bold enough statement on their own.

With that vision in my head, I planted her silver dollar money plants along my garage too, and took special care not to kill them. Turns out, these plants are hard to kill. In fact, given even slightly reasonable conditions, they will multiply. Massively. Like dirty laundry in the corners of your kids’ rooms. By the following fall, I had more than enough plants to create my own stunning centerpieces.

But there was a problem: My silver dollars weren’t luminous white discs. They were ugly, bumpy and brown! They looked dead. Oh no, I thought. Here comes another shameful trek to the garbage can. Stupid plants. What did I do wrong? I couldn’t figure it out. My money plants all died back over the winter, with no chance to adorn my table.

Calling in the Plant Calvary

The next year, I was determined to do better. The prolific plants doubled in number again! But when the end of summer came along I was in the same frustrating boat, staring with furrowed brow at a sad crop of dry, wrinkly pods. That’s it, I decided. Time to call in the plant cavalry (i.e., my mom).   

What she told me on the phone first made me fall silent. And then it made me smile. And then it made me laugh for a good long time.

I had been missing a very important piece of knowledge. I dashed outside to snag a stem of silver dollars and pinched a pod between my finger and thumb. Then I slid my fingers back and forth, ever so gently, and voila! The unattractive outer layer fell away and revealed the lustrous shiny coin I was yearning for. The ugliness that I had scorned for two seasons was merely a protective covering— a botanical bodyguard— that hid the fragile beauty beneath it.

 

Quick to Judge Instead of Love

Isn’t that the way it goes sometimes, Sistas? I pondered the notion in my prayer journal: We can be so quick to make judgments and come to conclusions that turn out to be so wrong. And I’m not talking just plants here, of course. Whether it’s the mom who is consistently late to her children’s events, or the co-worker who is struggling to stay awake, or the child who is throwing a tantrum in the grocery store, we have to remember we are looking only at the unpleasant outer layer. We don’t know if there’s an elderly parent’s care making the mom late, or an abusive spouse situation creating the co-worker’s exhaustion, or a special needs diagnosis causing the child’s behavior. Only the outer layer is visible to us in that moment of time.

God has made us all in his image. We are unique, fabulous creations of His— no two of us are alike! Yet we live in a fallen world with challenges, complexities, and outright sin. These factors can give us an uninviting outer shell and can also hastily cloud our initial perception of others. The foggy glasses of snap judgment can prevent us from seeing the beauty that most certainly exists right below the surface of each one of us. I, for one, don those foggy glasses of snap judgment wayyyy too often.

Saint Mother Teresa teaches us, “If you judge people, you have no time to love them.” So let’s give each other a break, shall we? We all have struggles, we all have faults, we are all sinners. Let’s look beyond the outer layer, avoid snap judgments and give each other the benefit of the doubt. Better yet, let’s show some love. Let’s vow to save a seat for that latecomer, bring a cup of coffee to that co-worker, and give an empathetic smile to the frazzled mom in the grocery store.

People, like plants, deserve a deeper look.