love must be sincere

~Kindergarten teacher! Laurent~

This literally has no name, just the description of the AU lol

Anyway, can anyone link me to the post that discussed this AU? Because I can’t remember whose it is and my stupid ass didn’t save it anywhere!!!

Update: found the post

Okay now, enjoy:

——

“Are you ready for the kindergarten class coming in today?”

Nikandros’s voice snapped Damen out of his thoughts.

“I’m sorry, what was that?” he said, giving Nikandros an apologetic look.

He sighed crossing his arms. “I was asking about the kindergarten class that’s coming today,” he repeated patiently.

Damen nodded, smiling faintly. “Yeah, it should be fun.”

Nikandros huffed. “I wonder who is the suicidal maniac who decided to bring a bunch of kids into a museum. And you share the insanity with that person - how can babysitting ever be fun, Damen?”

“Unlike you, Nik, kids like me. I’ll have fun and so will they.” Damen glared at Nikandros determinedly.

He just laughed, shaking his head. “I admire you, Damen. I’m sure you’ll make it.”

There was a pause. Damen really didn’t like the look that Nikandros was giving him.

“What is it?” Damen asked suspiciously.

“You were pretty distant a moment ago. I’m just wondering what was on your mind.”

Damen narrowed his eyes at Nikandros. “I wasn’t thinking about anything special…”

“Were you thinking about your blond neighbor?”

Heat quickly rushed to Damen’s face. “Why would I be–?”

“He did something again, didn’t he? Come on, you can tell me,” Nikandros said with a smile.

Damen sighed. He admired Nikandros’s patience. Damen had been ranting about the frigid blond by the name of Laurent ever since he’d become Damen’s next door neighbor a month ago.

Their worst encounter was when Laurent told Damen off for trying to bring a date to his apartment.

Nikandros claimed that Laurent was just jealous, but Damen believed that he was just displaying his inability to mind his own business.

Either way, Damen hadn’t been able to shut up about Laurent ever since.

“He shoved me,” Damen said, recalling that morning’s event. “He glared at me, didn’t even seem sorry. He just looked pissed as always.” Damen huffed. Just thinking about the blond made him angry. “He’s just so unpleasant all the time…”

Nikandros slapped Damen on the shoulder, chuckling. “I suggest you to get him out of your head and focus on your task. And don’t forget to have fun,” he said, adding a hint of sarcasm.

Damen nodded with a smile. He took a deep breath and opened the door.

But before he walked out into the lobby, he caught a glimpse of a blond head. Damen stopped in his track and stared.

“It’s Laurent,” he blurted out.

Nikandros frowned. He approached Damen and observed the scene over his shoulder.

“That’s Laurent?” He asked.

“That’s Laurent,” Damen replied.

That’s Laurent?”

That’s Laurent.”

They both went silent.

“Well, he doesn’t look like the Devil,” said Nikandros.

“I suppose not,” Damen muttered.

At the moment, Laurent really didn’t look like the Devil at all. The weirdest thing was that Laurent was smiling. It took Damen completely by surprise and he felt the need to remember every detail of Laurent’s curved lips, so that he could have that image in his head the next time Laurent throws him poisonous looks.

Laurent got all the children to line up in record time. They were being handed their tickets to keep.

Damen felt Nikandros poke him in his ribs. “You should go. Don’t keep them waiting.”

Damen shot him a glare before walking out. He greeted the children and then dared to glance at Laurent. He seemed to be experiencing the same shock that Damen was experiencing a few minutes ago.

Damen was glad that his own shock had passed and that he could be the chill one for once.

And so they started their tour. Damen talked about Hellenism and Greek mythology. He realized quickly that this wouldn’t be exhausting at all, despite the amount of children in a small space.

They were all well-behaved, never interrupted him, except for questions after politely raising their hand. And still they subtly chatted and giggled.

Laurent seemed to be glowing. He had a small smile on his face the whole time. Damen felt odd about it, he hadn’t seen Laurent smile before at all and now he was able to see it for a rather long period of time.

One boy stood out from the others and Damen soon learned that that was his goal. To stand out and attract attention.

His name was Nicaise. He seemed to be waging a war with Laurent, but the boy clearly had no means of outsmarting him.

Whenever Nicaise tried to do something stupid, he was cut off by Laurent asking him to repeat what Damen had just said.

And as much as Nicaise tried to look uninterested, he knew the answer every time.

Then the kids were given the task to draw their favourite myth. There was a bit more noise while they did it, but they made no problems, not even Nicaise.

Damen found himself standing next to Laurent. Neither of them spoke at first.

Then after taking a deep breath, Damen blurted out, “Well, who knew…?”

“Who knew that I wasn’t a pretentious prick as you thought?” Laurent finished the sentence for Damen.

He must have noticed Damen’s surprised expression because he just smiled bitterly and added, “Don’t worry, I speak from personal experience.”

Damen didn’t want to deny that he thought that about Laurent. It would have been a lie, although Damen’s opinion was slowly changing.

“You’re great at this. The kids love you. You must really love your job,” Damen said.

The small, sincere smile was back on Laurent’s lips. “I do. This is something I am actually good at.”

Damen didn’t say anything. He found himself lost in Laurent’s eyes.

Until Laurent met his gaze.

“I could say the same for you, though. Who knew that a playboy like you was in love with the art of Ancient Greece?”

Damen felt himself flush. “I’m not a playboy…” he muttered.

“Of course not,” Laurent said cockily.

“I’m really nor,” Damen said with a lot more confidence. “Let me show you.”

Laurent arched an eyebrow, crossing his arms. “Show me?”

“Let me take you out,” Damen said.

For a moment Laurent seemed impressed, though he didn’t let it last. “On a date?”

“Of course. What else.”

Laurent pursed his lip. He did his best not to smile. “I’ll think about it,” he said coolly.

While the kids were getting ready to leave, Damen saw Nicaise approach Laurent.

He crouched and let Nicaise whisper something in his ear.

Then his pale cheeks went slightly red and he stood up. “Don’t make me put you in time-out,” he said to Nicaise.

But Nicaise didn’t leave it at that. He left Laurent and walked over to Damen.

Nicaise handed him a piece of paper. ‘Laurent’s number,” he said sharply.

Damen took the paper and stared at it, then at Nicaise. “Thank you…”

Then the boy tugged on Damen’s shirt. Nicaise was too short to tug on Damen’s collar, but he did his best to be intimidating.

But, you better be nice. If you hurt him, I’ll kill you.”

Damen just smiled at that. He ruffled Nicaise’s hair, who wasn’t very delighted by it. “Don’t worry, I’ll be nice,” Damen assured.

Nicaise huffed and returned to the rest of the class.

Before leaving, Laurent glanced at Damen and waved.

For the first time since they met, Damen couldn’t wait to see Laurent again.

Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.
- Romans 12:9 

- - - - -

@magnetotheshark, @larkistin, @hellozxxy, @messedupmcavoyer, @l-p-r-o-c-k, @krem-does-stuff, @katarzynajaskiewicz, @klassyfassy, @o0heartless0o, @magnetobsessed79, @jamesy4ever, @garnetquyen, @geertruis, @turtletotem, @palalife, @pangeasplits, @ikeracity, @mcavoys, @jxmesmcavoy, @adena-k, @timelosser, @candycherik, @butterynutjob, @shen-ceus, @lisas999, @negative-sex1, @lynngouvenec, @chookier ~

anonymous asked:

Talk to me about your HimUp feels, boy ;p

LMAO you make it sound so dirty~

Where do I even start with these two. They love each other? Like, sincerely. Part of me wanna say they must be the closest out of all six members, but then I get unsure when thinking of all the other pairings. But really. These two are just such a couple. They go on movie dates, dinner dates. They do everything together. God, they still sleep together even though it’s just three people sleeping at the dorm now. Youngjae must be so done with their lovey dovey shit, honestly. I still expect HimUp to get their own apartment eventually. AND LET’S NOT FORGET THEY LEGIT KISSED. I could go on forever.

HELLO MY FAVORITE PUPPERS!!!! this is your local pup aka adm li who always likes to thank you all in every follow goals kekekek so yeah here we are, 11 (?sorry I suck at numbers?) admins and 7k of you!! that’s damn insane folks, and we could never be so grateful for such amazing support and love :( sincerely you must be tired to know we couldn’t have anything today if it wasn’t for you! thank you so much for making us the biggest exo moodboards blog and for always putting smile in our faces by always being here, it means a f*cking lot!! some of us left, some faced the worst personal problems and so as you dear bub :( but honestly there’s no feeling in the world like still keeping contact and being friends with those who can’t give their 100% here, I’m proud of you all for handling all your problems, this harsh life, and still being an amazing human being, congratulations ☆ you deserve the best!! id like to thank our admins who are here for 10 months to 3 days, thank you for the oldies for always helping and never giving up and thank you to the new ones for being brave (jsndkxnck sorry) to face this big ass blog, I wish you all the best ;) I want you all know that I’m not speaking only for me when I say that doesn’t matter how many followers we have, we will have a special spot in our hearts for every single one of you and we will always be available to talk to whoever wants to meet our awkwardness :) we’re nice in the deep of our bodies :) jk I really love the other people that I share this blog with! I LOVE YOU GURLS SO MUCH :’) ! ok end of another emo speech of adm li being dumb :’) bye guys and btw I’m finishing my hiatus in some days so pls look forward for my sh*t again, ily 🐰🌸💞

The man I will love:

1. Must be sincere. and honest. he must speak the same with his mouth, eyes and hands. it does not have to be poetry, or beautiful. only real.

2. Must be God fearing. God loving. God conscious.

3. Will think more about my opinion than anyone else’s.

4. Should care about my interests. what i love. why i love it. even if he does not understand. he must support me in pursuit of it.

5. Must be brave. he must walk on the side of traffic in order to protect me.

6. Will never judge me.

7. Must listen. really listen. and talk. really talk.

8. Will hold my hand in public. and never shy away.

9. Must know who he is. what he is about. what he wants.

10. Will be a giant to me. because of everything he is. and everything I am, will compliment him.

—  the man i will love, f.gabdon

Love in Action

 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.

 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 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,” says the Lord. 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.”

 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. -  Romans 12:9-21 ‘

A Queen's Reminder

So, I started to start to write it all out

Then I realized that I’ve written it all before.

Several times before.

Last year.

And the year before that.

And 3 years before that.

So, I just re-read my words.

I was trying to etch it into my mind.

Burn the word deep into my skin.

I want them to stain my tongue

Like Spaghetti sauce in a cheap container

That was never built to contain my love.

You weren’t even Ziploc.

You were barely Great Value.

Hell, but it wasn’t your fault.

I was foolish enough to think that you could love me

Without first loving God.

So, because you didn’t know God

You could never know how to treat his children.

You could only know the surface value but never the depth of

Luke 6:31 Do to others as you would have them do to you.

Romans 12:9 Love must be sincere; Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.

Mark 12:31 The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself There is no commandment greater than these.

Romans 13:10 Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.

1 Corinthians 13:4-8 Patient, Kind, does no Envy.

Does not boast, is not proud, not rude, not self-seeking, not easily angered, always protects, trust, hopes, preserves, and never fails.

Never fails.

Never Fails.

But this failed.

It failed from the tops of mountains.

It failed from heights unimaginable.

It failed so hard the ground shook.

And it rattled me awake.

It rattled me to my senses and I looked to my Creator

To remember, finally, my name.

Jeremiah 1:5 Before I formed you in the womb I knew[a] you,

Before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.

He made me in joy.

So, even when you tried to strip me of my happiness,

I still smiled.

He made me with freedom.

So, when you tried to trap me in fear,

I still had my wings.

I am a child of the King.

I just had to be reminded that you were just a jester.

And I am a Queen deserving of a true King.

By Toni Jo @etherealsylph

Velvet Tongue, So Sweet.

Pairings: EndVerse!Cas x Reader

Word Count: 3900-ish

Warnings: SMUT, NSFW, some dirty talk, semi-public sex

Summary: So, the reader works at Camp Chitaqua and Cas maybe has a thing for her, but he’s not sure if he’s really into her of if he just wants to sow as many wild oats as possible along the way. Either way, the reader is cool with it because the new mortal Cas is just what she’s into.

A/N: So this is dedicated specifically to Jess @abaddonwithyall because she’s my favorite Cas!girl and she’s been nothing but sweet as hell to me and I can’t say thank you enough. But this is also dedicated to Kim @ilostmyshoe-79 and Kat @unadulteratedstorycollector as well because they are very encouraging and have been amazing cheerleaders through everything and I love them both.

Tagging: @bovaria @winchesterenthusiast @balthazars-muse @mrswhozeewhatsis @but-deans-back-tho @theerinpage @iwriteshortstuff @spnfanficpond (if there are any Cas girls or smut lovers who I didn’t tag and you think they’ll like this feel free to tag them too!)

Originally posted by definitely-destiel

Originally posted by supernatural-pantry

The camp isn’t really a place to fall in love, it’s not a place to form emotional attachments or bonds. It’s a place to survive, and honestly it takes so much energy trying to do that, that it seems silly to bother with anything else. But everything is still new to Cas. The world in its glorious visceral form is still enchanting, even if his friends are dropping like flies.

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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.
—  Romans 12:9-10

Chapter 23 is a beautiful chapter. If it is a novel, it is a chapter containing a pivotal scene. It is a chapter you will go back to because of the facts and revelations contained in it. It was beautiful so much so that I could not concretely grasp it - everything that was said, their upfront and underlying meanings, and the emotions that come along. The things I’ve written recently about it are nothing but scribbles to establish little points for the organization of my thoughts. Who is Kageyama in Yashiro’s life, how is he different from Doumeki, and his everlasting blindness.

I can understand why there are some who are saying that in the shower Yashiro compares Doumeki to Doumeki’s father. In the first release of the scanlation there was a missing page and the translation goes something like that. But the translation was corrected and with the missing context from before, it was made clear that, yes, unfortunately, Doumeki was, is and has always been compared to Kageyama. If it is up to me, I would like it better if Doumeki was compared to his father. Because that was the whole point of Doumeki’s doubts. He fears being like his father. And having Yashiro clear all of that away by saying that he is definitely not like him and Doumeki doesn’t look at him like that… Aaaah that would have been so relieving and if I were Doumeki I will surely cry because that was touching and moving coming from the person he loves. But that was not the case and that made it harder to grasp for me. But it had something different to establish having Doumeki be compared with Kageyama.

During the first part Doumeki handled the situation by rejecting the offer. And there was Yashiro being his provocative and twisted self pushing Doumeki to a state where he bared his heart out - telling his feelings, voicing out his thoughts, confessing his attraction and love. Yashiro knows what Doumeki’s fears are because he even touched on that topic saying things about how it will not be like in his sister’s case and being sarcastic if Doumeki likes it better to hold down someone like his father. And that did it as Doumeki has gone soft. The pivotal part of it is that Doumeki was able to confess and he is now free from holding all these thoughts inside. And that is one wall between them down. There must be some assumptions and “just a feel” from before but now.. Boss now clearly knows who he is in Doumeki’s eyes.

Yashiro on the other hand is having all those self realizations. While he is being cruel to Doumeki he has his own inner self debate. He was rejected, he is angry. He wants to feel Doumeki’s hands and tongue again and has been thinking about it but he is angry because he made Doumeki not impotent anymore. He is angry Doumeki is erect because of him. It made him question his love for sex with men. He is justifying this to himself.. he loves sex as far as he knows. But why is he angry that Doumeki is aroused because of him. These self realizations leading to better self discovery Yashiro is on his way of knowing.

The offense taken from the rejection along with these introspections confusing him and leading to that moment of vulnerability speaking words he never once before dared to speak. Yashiro for one, recognized in himself that he panicked causing his reactions earlier and his retreat to the bathroom fully clothed and even forgetting that he is wounded. The confrontation with Doumeki had so big an impact to him. He can’t even quite fully comprehend the important words Doumeki said. Because for him it was weird, it was strange, it was new. And now this is the scene where I am happy but there’s a little part in me saying that it’s sad.

Yashiro started by saying he first sympathized with Doumeki because he is impotent. Maybe what he means by sympathy is something like a “connection”. What with their circumstances being such an irony of each other and a total contradiction. One that takes pleasure in sex and the other who lost the capability to feel it. And so they were both broken in some way. He feels the connection in that way. And he was reminded of Kageyama. He then started to compare Doumeki with Kageyama. The nagging little part of me is telling me how painful it must have been for Doumeki to be told that the early part and a big part of the affinity Yashiro has for him is because he reminds Yashiro of Kageyama. It was phrased in such a way that tells that Yashiro knows how Kageyama looks at him and he devised in his mind an image that Doumeki sees him the same way. Maybe because it was more familiar and less confusing for him. But the little part of me is showing me the other painful side of it. That what Yashiro saw before in the way Doumeki looks at him is an illusion, a dream of how he wanted to be seen by Kageyama and a reminder that he is not seen like that..
And so Doumeki and Kageyama are completely different.

But it was for the most part still happy because Yashiro’s next words are words he probably must have said aloud for the first time in his life. The admittance that someone.. that Doumeki is important to him, the realization that he doesn’t want to let him go, the fear of losing him.

Thinking about it now when Doumeki told Yashiro he will do anything for him, Yashiro’s reaction seemed like he doesn’t mind it so much. But with his words in the bathroom as he remembers Doumeki being almost shot shows he must have treasured and took to heart what Doumeki said. It must be a time he felt sincerely loved. That close encounter with danger must have contributed a lot to his realization of how important Doumeki is for him.

Anyway what Yashiro said is basically a confession of his true feelings for Doumeki, no matter how round about it was. And Doumeki’s hug was like saying “As I’ve said to you before I’ll do anything for you. Don’t worry. I’ll stay by your side. I’m here and I’m not going anywhere.” Very comforting..

The cards have been laid. And looking at it in the happy light, this is a beginning for them. A very good beginning.

It’s Always Been You | L.H

Masterlist

A sharp rap on your apartment door caused you to snap your head up. You had just been finishing putting together a mountain of blankets and pillows for you and Luke to use when he came over. 

You were greeted by a flash of a smile, a quick yet tight hug, and a whisp of blonde hair. You chuckled at Luke as he ran into your living room and flung himself onto the massive pile of blankets waiting for the both of you. He patted the space next to him, gesturing for you to come sit down.  You rolled your eyes at his enthusiasm at such a late hour and turned on the TV so you could play the movies you had picked out for tonight. 

Movie night had been a tradition you and Luke shared since as long as you can remember. Growing up next door to each other made you very close, and you had been joined at the hip since the very first day he arrived on your street. Movie nights began sometime around the end of middle school or the beginning of high school, when you were both stressed and nervous, and just needed relaxing time. Every Monday, after school, you and Luke would go to one of your houses and watch one or two movies, not thinking about any responsibilities or schoolwork. As you two got older and the amount of work got heavier, you both found it hard to find time to  hang out anymore, but now that you were both out of high school, you were having movie nights multiple times a week. You found it comforting to be around Luke; he had an aura of familiarity and home. 

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A Theology of Loss, Love, and Leaning In

For my chaplaincy, I had to answer the questions:

Where is God in the midst of suffering, loss, illness, tragedy? Where is God for the patients? Where is God for you?

Here’s my meager attempt to answer these very huge questions.


In the worst moments of our lives — the cancer, the car accident, the phone call that changes everything — I’m not always sure where God is. Even the most trusting and devout are spouting, “God’s got this” with quivering lips and a shaking voice, with the slight clench of a fist, with feverish bewilderment: because the words fall flat on the cold linoleum of the hospital.

No matter how much theology we know in our three lb. brains, it all goes out the window when the floor opens up and steals us into the abyss of loss, the irreversible before and after, and the world becomes a chaotic, unsafe place of random disaster.

I can’t say where God is.

I can only say with some certainty where God is not.

I don’t believe God is distant and detached from our pain. I don’t believe He’s gloating over us behind a glass cage. I don’t believe He uses pain to teach us a lesson. I don’t believe that trials are part of “God’s amazing plan for your life.”

I don’t believe that God is some stoic, abstract teacher who waits for us to “get it.” Pain is pain, and it hurts, and no amount of theology is going to glamorize a special reason that it happens.

Not every pain has a connect-the-dots theology, because when a hurricane misses a city and everyone “praises God,” it’s only condemning the millions of people who are hit by the same storm. When a child dies of preventable diseases or drunk drivers or a genetic anomaly, there’s no curse or blame upon the child. We can’t force such a tragedy into easily quantifiable boxes. To make such a correlation, if anything, is worse than the pain itself.

The truth is that we live in loss every single second, just by the mere fact that our lives won’t turn out the way we want them to. We live within absolute suffering just by losing time on the clock in the inevitable march towards death. The hospital only puts a neon sign around the coffin that awaits us all.

But my Christian faith tells me that this is completely expected. We live on a fallen world where the thread of sin has woven its tendrils into every part of our being, and that something will always be missing. Rather than deny pain, the Christian faces it head-on and acknowledges the tension. From our grief in loss to our hunger for approval to our need for intimacy: we float in this strange limbo of discontent, where nothing is ever quite the way we want it.

At the same time: My faith holds onto the hope that total fulfillment really exists. Our pain is unbearably awful, but it actually points to our desire for a healing of everything that has ever fallen apart. The inverse irony of pain is that when we’re hurting, it conveys a contrast to a very real wholeness, which is why pain hurts. Pain tells us that something is terribly wrong and we know it ought to be put right. Or as C.S. Lewis said, “Nothing is yet in its true form.” The very reality of suffering points to our need for an ultimate comfort and justice: for God Himself.

This means there is some perfect song on the other side of the door; a light at the end of the tunnel that fills the tunnel; a beauty that doesn’t explain our pain, but is stronger and louder and bigger than all that has happened to us. We know this because we know bad notes, we know the darkness of a tunnel, we know the scars of marred beauty. Christianity says that the only real beauty is the infinitely satisfying perfection of God, who is the only being in existence that fulfills every longing we’ve ever had for truth and beauty and wholeness.

If God truly fulfills our every longing, then on some level, He must be just as mad at suffering as we are. God must be grieving with us, too. And in fact, my Christian faith tells me that God is perfectly mad at our pain, and we’re also allowed to be mad. Maybe there’s an intellectually satisfying answer why we’re suffering: but what I want is someone who relates instead of debates. This is why we get flustered when someone connects the dots on our tragedies. It’s better they get with me in the trenches.

This means my job is not to solve for the other person’s pain. It’s not to bring diagrams and flowcharts. It’s to sit inside the uncertainty and anxiety of suffering and to shout against the dark, until we have shouted ourselves out. This is when God can begin to show up at all.

By connecting with others in the hospital, we each get a tiny burst of the beauty that we’re longing for.

Here’s how. There’s one verse in Scripture that has helped me with this immensely. The Apostle John, who was the longest living disciple of Jesus and had seen all his friends martyred, and was exiled to an island and reportedly boiled alive in oil, wrote, “No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.” (1 John 4:12)

For me, this is huge. It means that it’s okay to find God through other people. It’s okay to catch divinity by community. Somehow, our wires get electrified with the Creator when we thrive in connection with the created.

This is highlighted even more in our pain. Apostle Paul wrote, “Love must be sincere … Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.” (Romans 12:9, 15) When we’re present in each other’s suffering, fully there and engaged, without lectures but only listening — then somehow, in some mysterious supernatural way, God is there, too. We’re reminded that community can still thrive inside the pain. The switch is flipped and the gears turn. No, it doesn’t solve the pain. It doesn’t make anything better right away. But we taste something better and brighter than the pain.

As a Christian, I believe our deepest need is connection with God and with others. Consequently, I believe that God shows up in our suffering when we lean into each other’s suffering. These two truths are intertwined and inseparable.

I’ve seen glimpses of God this way in our pain and loss. It’s not just far-off thoughts of heaven, but a sense of the divine in the here and now. I’ve seen the wires come alive in the eyes of the suffering, including mine, when we act as if such truths are true.

This isn’t merely a “religious thing.” Even in completely non-theological conversations about pain, the patients in the hospital want someone to be there, whether it’s their idea of God, or their family, or the nurse, or a patient in the next bed who’s hurting with them. When people ask, Where is God? sometimes it sounds like they’re asking, Where is anyone? Most people seem to be asking, Who will be with me in my suffering? There’s anger that God has fallen asleep at the deck, but underneath this, there’s also a fear that no one will be there at all, and that the universe really is just a spinning bottle of empty.

I believe there’s a universe in each of us, bottles adrift at sea with notes inside, waiting to find one another.

It’s why we need to say our last words of wisdom to someone. It’s why we use the word deathbed instead of death-ditch. No one wants their story to get buried. Someone has to carry the torch. Someone has to hold my hand when I die.

And I believe God is there between those hands, the spark of fellowship where we’re not traveling alone, but walking each other home.  

J.S.