Visit me there! FulFill! 

I cringed in pain as I leaned down and reached for the edge of what I thought would be a beautiful sand dollar.

It wasn’t. “Just another broken bit.”  I sighed as I stiffly straightened up and walked on.

Over and over- I saw the curved, white edges I was searching for peeping out from the sparkling sugar sand like gold coins in a buried treasure chest.

Over and over I slowed. I reached down. I nudged curved edged shells from their sandy beds. I sighed. I cringed. I hurt.”Technically,” I wasn’t breaking (many) post surgical rules.I had my brace on. (Which- as a side note- could double as a nuclear shelter for a mouse. Its tough. Just sayin.) It took me 45 minutes to figure out I could use my feet to nudge them from their sandy beds.  (I never said I’m quick, it took me a while to figure out a less painful way to check for brokenness.)

I kept walking.

I kept looking.I kept nudging. I alternated between toes and hands when I thought I wasn’t being thorough.

Between nudges and signs, I mechanically, I snapped pictures. More out of habit than heart. More of scientific documentation than search for beauty. The more pieces of sand dollars I found, the more frustrated I became.  “With all these pieces… there HAS to be a whole one here, somewhere. Or maybe, this beach lies.” (Slight paranoia may have been setting in. Maybe a delayed reaction to the anesthesia? Or, maybe just me…)

I found all kinds of shells. I filled my pockets with them. For Noah. But, I was disappointed. I wanted a sand dollar. I didn’t want whelks or mollusks, oysters or scallops. I didn’t want sea sponges or sea weeds. I wanted a sand dollar.

I know finding whole sand dollars on the beach is rare. I didn’t care.  I WANT ONE. NOW. (more…)

I love my neighbors. Sure, we have differences- including language complications and different traditions and beliefs…. But, I love my neighbors.

This week, the patriarch of the family next door died after a battle with pancreatic cancer. (A really nasty killer- I might add.) His wife had already battled cancer of her own. I hate cancer.

Have I mentioned how much I hate cancer? Yeah. I hate it THAT much.

I’ve chatted with, smiled at and waved to this family for the 12 or so years that we’ve lived next-door to each other. The patriarch (The word truly fits this gentleman.) gave my husband (much needed) gardening tips. Our kids went to school together, squabbled together, played together.

Yesterday, when I saw the driveway and street fill with cars I suspected the battle was over. [When that much family arrives in the middle of the week- it means either a baby was born- or there was a death.] There was no baby due.

I desperately wanted to DO SOMETHING. [Mostly] Feed them. Pray with them…. sit with them.. something.

Problem: some of our differences make that complicated. My beloved neighbors are Muslim. I know how to do Christian funeral stuff. I am, however clueless about the rules- etiquette and options for me here. Cooking? Kind of hard. I do not keep a Halal kitchen- so I can’t really cook for them.  

I probably already broke 10,000 rules when I hugged the grandson yesterday after he confirmed what I suspected. That the fight was over. I told him to let me know if there was anything we could do. A service to attend? Anything. (Umm yeah nothing like awkwardly pushing my need to help on the poor grieving kid- who knows there are things I can’t do and places I can’t really go….)

This morning- he knocked on the door- wondering if the family could use our driveway for parking. “YES, PLEASE.” was my response…And then he asked if he could buy our ice melt… they’d tried to get some but EVERYWHERE is sold out. I practically begged him to take it. Again- I wanted to HELP!  But salt and a place to park didn’t seem like much. He invited me to the ladies- reception this evening… but my whole family is sick.:(

I can’t cook. I can’t sit with them in their grief without contaminating them… literally.

Fortunately- I have a halal grocer right next to our pharmacy. Or, what I like to call our winter home. While my middle son picked up his prescription- I wandered into the tiny market like an alien from another planet. FYI: when a woman without a head covering wanders into a middle eastern market- the men scatter. With the exception of the owner.

Thank you Jesus. Cause- this naked headed chick needed help.

I explained the situation- and for some reason- totally blamed my Italian heritage for my need to feed these people. I asked if he could help me make up a gift basket of goodies. He graciously agreed. I waited while he rang up a few customers- and while I waited I thought: “Hey, I’m here, I got this…I can pull together a gift basket.” I started tossing things that looked yummy into my cart.

When he finished- he found me wandering the aisles, still tossing things into my cart. He asked a few questions and then basically- then rescued my butt from looking like a doofus. My cart was half filled with Indian food the other half was Pakistani. My neighbors are Jordanian. Apparently- I didn’t “have this, after all.”

The owner helped me start over.

I left with a few bags of staples and treats to feed my neighbors.  I immediately felt better.

Ish. I mean… This isn’t flowers and helping with a funeral dinner, you know what I mean? Which is what I’d normally DO.

When I’d barely finished packing up the goodies and signed the card, the doorbell rang.

It was the kid from next-door. With a warm plate of food from the funeral luncheon.

I nearly cried right there. I also kind of wanted to yell: “Hello. I’M BRINGING YOU FOOD. You’re the grieving ones!!”

He said something about the salt and parking and thank you. I’m sure I looked confused.

I said- hold on.. I have something for you, I grabbed the goodies. Then, he looked confused. “No, you shouldn’t.”

I said something lame like: “We care about your family- I know I can’t cook for you- but I COULD go to the Halal market and pick up some goodies… My family is sick- so I can’t come visit tonight- but please- take this to your family and give them our love.” (I honestly have no clue what I said- I was so caught off guard by the gift of a warm meal that I just don’t remember.) Image

As he walked home, I thought about the scripture that tells us to be salt and light……and how maybe sometimes that can be literal.

Salt for the icy walk. Light spaces to park cars. I thought about loving our neighbor, and how my neighbor had just loved me. (Let’s face it- doesn’t matter what culture you’re from- if you take the time and effort to think of and bring a plate of food from your families funeral to someone- well.. that’s an offering of love and acceptance.)

I think too often we’re afraid to reach out to people who are different. Maybe we’re afraid we’ll offend. Maybe we’re afraid we’ll be offended. Maybe we’re afraid we’ll be rejected. Maybe we fear we won’t be needed. Maybe we just don’t know what to do.

I thought and felt all of those things. Then I took a deep breath and I tried.

I wonder how different the world would be if we all took a few more little risks, if we thought about solutions and points of connection instead of differences and problems. Sure- maybe we’d end up scattering a few men in the Halal market. Maybe some things would flop like a fish on dry land. Maybe we’d seem overly eager to help. But our neighbors would know they are loved. That we tried.

I think that’s worth it. I kind of think Jesus is smiling over this whole thing…

My hubby and I are  planning on attending the reception later this week- and out of respect for the family- I won’t be sharing about that here. To touch someone’s grief and try to bring comfort-is private and holy. Not fodder for a blog.

To lend some salt and parking space and be surprised it meant something? Blog appropriate. To figure out how to feed people who’s dietary traditions and beliefs preclude you from cooking for them that ends up with me on an adventure in a grocery store where I can’t read the labels? That’s my story to share….

And I share it with hope that when your neighbor is hurting…or even when they aren’t-  That you’ll do something. Anything. To let them know you care. Even if they’re “different” from you. Cultural differences, lifestyle differences, appearance or preferences….

Difference don’t have to divide…. sometimes they just require some creativity to navigate.

I appreciate your continued prayers for this grieving family.

Now- go- love your neighbor. Or at least try. I will too. ;)

In honor of the Olympics:  A re-print from 2006-

Curious? George was. So is Noah.
I keep telling myself: he’s not bad…. he’s curious, creative, innovative, but, what I see at the moment is, he’s messy. Maximum mess. Messious Maximus.

Three guesses as to what the ooze is that Noah is sliding in…..

Is it:
1. Gorilla Glue? (Thankfully- Not.. I suppose it COULD have been worse…–although I wouldn’t have had to chase his stickiness through the kitchen, if it HAD been…He’d have been: stuck. permanently. Which sounds like a pretty good idea on occasion.)
2. A Bodily Fluid- either  animal or human? (Nope-not this time, that would have smelled much worse.)
3. An entire bottle of syrup poured onto my kitchen floor, creating Noah’s own Olympic Speed Skating rink? DING DING DING!- We have a winner!

Like most toddler mischief-it began, with two minutes of peace and quiet.

I should have known.

When suddenly,I remembered that: Quiet is not good. I called out: “Noah!?  Where are you?”  No answer.

No answer? Also: not good.

3 steps into the kitchen, my feet felt funny.

5 steps in,  I saw what you see,in the picture above.

6 steps in, I decided I had to kill him….

Then, I saw his shirt. “GEORGE” It said in bright white letters across his back.

I stopped cold (and sticky) in my tracks. I was reminded of where we went just yesterday.

We went to see “Curious George”.  I giggled through the whole movie through because Curious George- is so like my Noah.

George is like any normal preschooler. Curious.

So is Noah. Not only curious, but also uninhibited. If the sticky syrup feels good- they slide in it. Our whole family saw Noah in the movie- we laughed on the way home… thinking of the little moments- where Noah has gotten himself into scrapes.

Don’t get me wrong…

20 oz. of maple syrup, (Okay high fructose corn syrup with caramel coloring and maple falling .. at least it was the cheap stuff.) spread across my floor, does NOT make me happy. It makes me furious. But- in the instant that I saw his shirt, I was reminded of Curious George and Curious Noah. In the same instant God ( I know it was God, because the woman in my head?  She was heading for her executioner’s hood!) reminded me: “George isn’t BAD, he’s CURIOUS. So is Noah.”

Truth is— I could have ranted and raved. (I have before) But, the floor would have still been a mess, the syrup would have been covering him… and I’d have felt awful. Instead, in a moment of lucidity, that also could only have been God, I calmly said…

Noah? What did you do? ” to which he replied ” I skating. I go Olympics!”

I told him: “Syrup is for waffles, not skating.”  I then had to figure out how to clean up the mess- before the dog went into a maple sugar induced coma….AND I had to keep them both from spreading invisible sticky footprints all thru the house. I decided on stripping the preschooler to his drawers and making him stand on a towel, while I mopped up what I could…. before putting him in the tub. (Noah, alone in a tub while I’m MOPPING-would be a bad thing…actually, preschoolers, alone in a tub is ALWAYS a bad thing!)

Noah must have sensed how close to death he came today- because he managed to stand (wiggle and sit ) on that towel, without leaving it for 10 minutes. A herculean feat for a wriggly boy.

We all survived, thanks to Curious George and Jesus.

FYI: When faced with a “Curious” problem like this of your own…. prior to the actual mopping up of the syrup— I recommend you use a spatula to scrape as much up as possible. This will eliminate the creation of “mop doom”…(you don’t want to know) and will enhance your cleaning experience. (These are the kind f cleaning tips you can’t find in parenting books. But, should.)

Dear Lord, I love you- and this child (all three!) that you gave me, please help me to always see them as your wonderful creation. Please, give me wisdom, to discipline them, and patience to guide them. And Lord- thanks for not letting me kill them. amen.

 a tiny nest in the doctor's officeIt’s taken over 2 years. Don’t get too excited. We haven’t arrived at a cure, yet. (Which sucks.) But, I have finally arrived at: thankful. At least I usually manage to visit the land of thankful, each day. If only for a few moments at a time. Apparently, I’m not holy enough (or maybe crazy enough) to be thankful for my husband’s cancer. (I’ve had several people encourage me to BE thankful for it…. so far? Not so much. Honestly? That sounds masochistic and sick. But hey- if it IS your experience- I’m glad for you. Just stop trying to push it on me, ok?)  I can, however- finally recognize my thankfulness IN cancer.

  • I’m thankful for the love and support of friends and family as we take this seemingly never ending Willie-Wonka- on- the psychelic -boat ride. A ride through diagnosis, surgery, treatments, appointments, emotions and trying to find a new normal that involves: cancer. Every single, day.
  • I’m thankful for the deepening of conversations and faith that this cancer battle has born like fruit on a thorny bush. I once heard that trees growing in harsh conditions where wind and rock make life difficult, dig deeper roots. I’m thankful the storm of cancer has caused our roots to deepen. (I’m feeling metaphoric- what can I say?)
  • I’m thankful for the daily reminder that life is short. Cancer puts a magnifying glass on the clock of life. There are no guarantees of tomorrow, and that loving people right now, where you are, is really the best anyone can do to honor God. This has always been true…. I was just oblivious of it. (Along with a lot of other things. Of course:P  Oblivious could be my middle name.)
  • I’m thankful that God has shown his presence in ways I recognize, at times I most desperately need it. He hasn’t DONE what I’ve been begging for- but he has shown up. We’ve not been, or felt alone. (We have however felt: angry, hurt, grief, fear, jealous of the healthy, frustrated with glib responses to our pain…. but not alone.)
  • I’m thankful for the strength of our family- birthed in love, is now being  forged in fire. Like steel hardened by a blacksmith- we’re becoming stronger- not weakened by the “stuff” we’ve been facing. (Cancer is just the tip of the iceberg….let’s just say if it COULD hit the fan? It has.) (You’re welcome- that was metaphor 3,002 for this post. I’m gong for a record.)
  • I’m thankful that life continues- even under threat.

I could go on…. But the point is- for the past few years I’ve entered each New Year hoping the next year would be better. I’ve been kicking years to the curb like the ripped wrapping paper and used paper plates currently filling my holiday infused trash. (I mean recycling. Yeah, that’s right- recycling.) I’ve been happy we survived them. But I’v not been thankful for them.

Last night, I felt different. I felt thankful. Finally. The cancer is still there. Life is still hitting us hard. We struggle. Like most people- it’s always something. Cars still break down and so do I.

But-I’m finally thankful. I’m thankful for what God accomplished last year. In spite of cancer. (And in spite of me.) Instead of kicking 2013 to the curb- I’m archiving it. I looked through this years “year in review” photo album with joy and thankfulness . Even the hospital pictures hold glimpses of humor and hope.

There was beauty amid  the mess and  I am thankful. As I look back- now I can see- I HAVE been thankful. As all the things above and so many more, unfolded this year, I felt thankful. Not every minute. And certainly not for cancer- but the thankfulness has been there. Sometimes so fleeting, I barely noticed. Like a butterfly- it momentarily landed in my heart- countless times.

Here’s the thing: I’ve been feeling guilty about my lack of thankfulness in this mess. I’ve had lots of people tell me how thankful they were for their experiences with cancer. That cancer has been “a gift in their life.” If it’s a gift, it’s been one I’d like to return. I’d even wait in the Walmart after Christmas return line for as long as it takes. (Walmart post Christmas return line? = a taste of hell on earth. Justsayin. It’s that bad.)

I’ve experienced magical thinking- “Maybe if I can make myself be thankful for the cancer- god will take it away… maybe thats the key.”  The problem is: I can’t be thankful FOR cancer. Besides- I highly doubt God falls for manipulation by emotion. I  can’t get rid of it. Not even with magical thinking. It’s not returnable or regiftable. (Even I have limits for re-gifitng.)

Cancer doesn’t come with a gift receipt. There are no returns. Not even for store credit. It just: sucks. It’s the gift that keeps on sucking.

However- I’ve been looking back- all the way to the beginning of this journey- and now I can see not just God- but my own footprints of thankfulness, in the cancer- if not for it. The truth is-I’ve been thankful all along.

I refuse to keep trying to believe that I have to be thankful FOR cancer. Jesus never met someone sick or in pain and said: “You should be thankful for this affliction. Go and enjoy it some more.” The bible says Jesus had compassion on the afflicted, the outcast, the pained. It also says he understands our weaknesses and our pain. We have a high priest (Jesus) who “gets it.” “Jesus wept.”  Is one of the most profound verses in the Bible. It shows God doesn’t expect or desire denial… he desires honesty of feelings. And that he can handle it.

Dear Lord- I’ve felt guilty for my lack of thankfulness in this cancerous mess. I’ve longed for it- I’ve even tried to manufacture it. Thank you Lord- for loving me even here. When I’m too blinded by pain to be thankful. And to messy to even recognize the thankfulness I have experienced. Thank you lord for being with us- everyday- in and through all this mess- And thank you lord for letting me off the hook of being thankful FOR cancer……. Thank you for 2013, and your presence in it. I’m not kicking it to the curb- but am gently archiving it in the story of our lives. Thank you for 2014. I’m looking forward to seeing where and how you’ll be showing up in this new year. Lord- this year I already hear you whispering to abide…..even here. Please Lord- help me to live fully- to remain- to abide- in this new year. I love you. But- I still hate cancer. Amen.

Dear Reader- I don’t know what you’re experiencing. Maybe it’s cancer- loss, divorce,job loss, financial struggles, sickness, chronic pain, relational struggles…. But if you’re like me and think you need to be thankful FOR it- and are feeling guilty and frustrated with yourself in addition to all you’re going through. I want you to know you’re not alone. I’ve been there. And: I don’t think you have to be thankful FOR whatever you’re going through. It sucks.  But maybe, just maybe if you look back- you may find you’ve been thankful IN it all along even if only for fleeting moments. If not- I promise- it will come. When it’s time. I don’t know how long it will take. It’s taken me a long time. Just keep breathing. Keep praying. (yes even ugly prayers… God can handle it.) Keep waiting. Stop heaping guilt on your already burdened heart. You’ll find thankful. If you let yourself.


  1. 6f72d9c1bb2806053f0ef0b54f998344

     
  2. John 15:4
    Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.

    John 15:3-5 

  3. 1 John 2:24
    [ Let Truth Abide in You ] Therefore let that abide in you which you heard from the beginning. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, you also will abide in the Son and in the Father.
  4. John 15:7
    If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.

    John 15:6-8 (in Context) 

  5. John 15:10
    If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.

    John 15:9-11 (in Context) 

  6. 1 John 4:16
    And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he whoabides in love abides in God, and God in him.

    1 John 4:15-17 (in Context) 

  7. 1 Corinthians 13:13
    And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

    1 Corinthians 13:12-13 (in Context)

  8. 1 John 4:15

    Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.

    1 John 4:14-16 (in Context) 

  9. Proverbs 15:31
    The ear that hears the rebukes of life Will abide among the wise.

    Proverbs 15:30-32 (in Context) 

  10. 1 John 2:6
    He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.

    1 John 2:5-7 (in Context)

  11. Joel 3:20
    But Judah shall abide forever, And Jerusalem from generation to generation.

    Joel 3:19-21 (in Context) 

  12. 2 John 1:2
    because of the truth which abides in us and will be with us forever:

    2 John 1:1-3 (in Context) 

  13. John 6:56John 6:55-57 (in Context) 
  14. 2 John 1:9
    Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son.

    2 John 1:8-10 (in Context) 

  15. 1 John 3:24
    [ The Spirit of Truth and the Spirit of Error ] Now he who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. And by this we know that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us.

    1 John 3:23-24 (in Context) 

  16. Psalm 61:7
    He shall abide before God forever. Oh, prepare mercy and truth, which may preserve him!

    Psalm 61:6-8 (in Context) 

  17. Psalm 119:90
    Your faithfulness endures to all generations; You established the earth, and it abides.

    Psalm 119:89-91 (in Context) 

  18. 1 John 2:17
    And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.

    1 John 2:16-18 (in Context) 

  19. 1 John 4:13
    By this we know that we abide in Him, and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit.

    1 John 4:12-14 (in Context) 

  20. 1 John 3:6
    Whoever abides in Him does not sin. Whoever sins has neither seen Him nor known Him.

    1 John 3:5-7 (in Context)

  21. John 12:46
    I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness.

    John 12:45-47 (in Context) 

  22. Psalm 61:4
    I will abide in Your tabernacle forever; I will trust in the shelter of Your wings. Selah

    Psalm 61:3-5 (in Context) 

  23. John 14:16
    And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever—

    John 14:15-17 (in Context) 

  24. Job 24:13
    “There are those who rebel against the light; They do not know its ways Nor abide in its paths.

    Job 24:12-14 (in Context) 

  25. 1 John 2:10
    He who loves his brother abides in the light, and there is no cause for stumbling in him.

    1 John 2:9-11 (in Context)

 

imagesWarning: Forget about zombies…. we’re under attack of a two headed dragon lie. This dragon is trying to kill what God so desperately wants to create- community. Today we’re gone slay that lie like the warriors of love we are, and want to be. It’s the lie that if we compare our situations, pains and struggles  and joys and they don’t measure equal or greater than- we have no right or responsibility to share them. LIE. let’s take on one ugly head of this dragon at a time.

The first lie like sounds like this: “I feel stupid even sharing with what you’re going through…..” “It’s nothing compared to what you have going on…” And-the even sadder:  “I don’t even want to share this good news with them.. because I know how hard life is for them right now… my news will just make them feel worse.” The second ugly head of the lie looks like this: “That’s nothing. Really? Here’s what I’m going through- you should be thankful that’s all you have on your plate. Suck it up buttercup.” 

That first head is usually pretty noisy and vocal. It’s in your face- comparing pain, heaping on guilt and withholding joy. The second is usually a it more stealthy…. it’s often noticed in a look, an attitude a feeling and ocassionally loudly and proudly roaring to fend off connection.

Here’s the thing; this dragon needs to die. Both heads are damaging to relationships. The first self inflicts flaming guilt at the speaker and shoots smoldering guilt embers to the listener. The speaker feels like they shouldn’t be in pain or struggling with whatever they are struggling with. Or, they don’t want to share their joy as if their joy makes someone else’s pain somehow- worse. They feel GULTY for good news. The listener feels bad that their pain makes someone else feel guilty for sharing their struggles, and feel let out of sharing in someone else’s joy. It also has another insidious side effect- the listener feels like because they are struggling they are being judged as too selfish or  hurting to care for someone else’s pain or joy.  Both are left feeling guilty. Disconnected. Less than.  The second head is equally diabolical and destructive. It lives to compete for the martyr crown. This dragon head snaps and bites to trump everyone else’s pain. It minimizes the struggles of others it in order to be seen as some kind of amazing martyr. It injects a selfish venom in it’s bite.

The result of these dragon attacks are the same- separation.  Guilt, Fear, Judgment (or the feeling of being judged) all lead to destruction of intimacy. Killing (or at least )damaging community.  When people feel they can’t share their pain and  joy  they don’t feel connected. Because they aren’t. They are separated by a two headed dragon of lies.

its time to slay the dragon. It’s time to stop comparing our pain and start sharing it. It’s time to respect the struggles of others and be honest about the struggles of our own.

Here’s what we’re learning about this two headed dragon during our three year battle of cancer and other huge struggles: Shared pain is more bearable. Shared joy is more joyful. Sharing pain breeds compassion and understanding and intimacy, sharing joy breeds hope and joy.  It all creates intimacy and community.

It slays the dragon.

Today- as we continue through the holidays- I want to slay the dragon. I refuse to compare our pain or minimize the pain of others. I refuse to be unavailable to the joy of others. I choose love. I choose sharing- not comparing. I choose intimacy not isolation. I hope you will to.

Like all Dragon slaying- it will require courage and wisdom…. and maybe a bit of armor. Sharing in someone else’s pain can hurt, sharing in another’s joy when you are hurting can be bittersweet. It can sting. But it’s worth it to grow hope….it can be  the tilling of the soil hope needs to grow in.

Let’s do it-  lets slay this beast and built community. I already know I can’t do it on my own. I’m too selfish and human and have a heart that automatically judges and compares. I AM the two headed dragon. (With slightly better hair.) Or- I can be on any given day.  Somedays- both in the same day. (Trips to the cancer center can do that to you. It’s a bipolar mix of survivors and the sick. Trust me.)

“Dear Lord- I love you- it hurts when I see people comparing or withholding their struggles from each other. I can see the damage it does to relationships- and I know your heart is for us to love one another- give us courage and wisdom lord- give us a bit of armor to bear the sting that sometimes comes with the sweet. Lord help us share in joy and in pain- the way you do, help us create community – we are stronger and better together- we need each other as a body needs it’s parts- help us slay this dragon- I love you lord- amen.”

” Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.  Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.

“Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.  Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.

17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 Do not take revenge,my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,”[d] says the Lord. 20 On the contrary:

“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”[e]

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” From Roman’s 12