What do you come with today, and what are you given in its place?

This week a grandfather figure of mine named Fred – a very special man who I meet with on a regular basis – said goodbye to a father figure of his own. After a lifetime of following Jesus all across the globe, his close companion James crossed over into eternal light.

James was a Methodist minister (who later converted to Catholicism) and he was also a recovering alcoholic. While serving in Hong Kong in the early ’80s, James celebrated his second sobriety birthday and that day he wrote a journal entry about his life experiences up to that point. The dearly loved man’s personal reflections – which echo the prayer of St. Francis – were printed in the bulletins of both of his Post, Texas, memorial services (one Methodist, the other Catholic). Fred brought me a home copy, and I now share it with you:

We all go on a journey, not always as we expect.
We come with our illusions, we are given our real life.
We come with our weaknesses, we are given new power.
We come with our pain, we are given peace.
We come with our complaints, we are given thankfulness.
We come with our guilt, we are given forgiveness.
We come with our doubt, we are given faith.
We come confused, we are given clarity.
We come with tears, we are given a song.
We come seeking forgiveness, we are called to forgive.
We come with tears, we are given a song.
We come seeking love, we are called to be loving.
James Bell
Personal Journal – May 15, 1982

How inspiring that even after his death, James’ humble and wise spirit – unquestionably intimately yoked with the Holy Spirit – doesn’t stop encouraging souls and spreading truth.

What do you come with today, and what are you given in its place?

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