“Come to me all you who labor and find life burdensome and I will give you rest.” These beautiful and comforting words come from Christ in today’s Advent Liturgy. In these times of loneliness and separation, we are all tired and feeling down. The Lord offers us rest, a rest rooted in reaching out in love. The “yoke” of Jesus is the burden to love, in simple ways, giving us “rest” because we take the focus off ourselves and place it on another human being. The Lord’s REST is the gift given to us... when we don’t focus on ourselves. Self-referential living is so lonely.
I took a long walk today, a day of sunshine and mild temps. I made it my purpose to focus on those I encountered along the way, not just during the walk but throughout the day . It became a day of a pilgrimage, for I encountered Christ in:
- The kind salesperson at Warby Parker selling me some anti fog spray for my glasses. It was her first day. She was so nervous. I simply assured her I had nowhere else to go and had lots of time. She made the sale beautifully but I forgot an item at the counter. She ran after me down Armitage thanking me... for what? Just being patient, not one of my strengths.
- The man in a wheelchair with no legs. He smiled in joy as I conversed with him.
- The representative from Winnebago County who was helping me with a speeding ticket I got lastweek. She was so kind and helpful. But when she saw that the call was coming from St. Teresa church, she asked about my position here. Our conversation lasted a long time with her sharing some wonderful memories of how her faith has made all the difference in her life.
These little encounters brought me out of myself and into the lives of total strangers. I just stopped rushing and opened the eyes of my heart. As I write this late in the day, I feel deeply rested.