Lenten Retreat: Receiving love. Loving others.

It’s Tybee Time, again.  For as many years as I can remember, I spend a few days each Lent in this sleepy, quiet beach town outside Savannah.

Up at 4 AM to catch the first flight out, my mind was still pondering last night’s Vestry discussion.  We watched the 5 Marks of Love video appointed for that day in Lent and responded to the question posed:

How have you experienced God’s love? How does that experience inform how you love others?

As the Rectory nears completion after the flood eleven months ago, as I am surrounded by peace, care, and beauty, my heart overflows with God’s love.  As I drove to the airport, I could feel that love seeping out to those around me.

It started on the shuttle bus from the parking lot.  I found myself praying for the folks traveling with me, and especially for the two dark-complected men who spoke to one another in Spanish.  I wondered about them and the people they love–are they anxious or fearful about possible deportations?

My driver was especially gracious and helpful.  He did little things to make that trip easier–found out when our flights were leaving so he could be sure that we got to our terminal on time; updating us about changes in the parking rules and how we could make things go more smoothly.

When I arrived at my terminal, as I gave the driver a little more generous tip than usual (it is Lent, after all), I thanked him for his service and complimented him on how well he did his job.  He teared up and told me that his whole day had changed.  Having experiencing God’s love, loving others.

When I got to my gate, the flight was way overbooked.  I am an anxious traveler (my growth edge with God, for sure).  I told my friend who would be meeting me in Atlanta that there was no way that I would give up my seat.

Then the gate agent asked for volunteers. They were guaranteed a seat on the flight leaving an hour and a half later, with an upgrade, a voucher for food, and a credit for a future flight.

As if a hand was pushing me out of my seat, I was first in line to volunteer.  I decided it had to be a God thing, and as folks who had been waiting for seats were given tickets, I wondered if there was someone who really, really, really needed to get to Atlanta, who was now able to go. I’ll buy my friend a coffee in Atlanta with my food voucher to thank her for waiting an extra hour or two for our retreat to begin (thankfully, she hadn’t left home yet).   Having experienced God’s love, loving others.

So I’m waiting a little to get started on my retreat.  But maybe if my retreat is to be about having received love, then sharing that love in small and not so small ways, perhaps I’ve already begun.

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