Sunday, February 05, 2012


Sunday Reflection: The Simplest Truth

Last week, on Sunday, I was on a ski lift with my sister. It was a perfect day in every way-- fresh snow, bright sun, cool but not cold, and I was out skiing with people who love it as much as I do.

On a ski lift, people talk, and Kathy said something so simple and true that it shook me up a little.

Like a lot of siblings, we are a lot the same and a lot different. Much of the difference is her being good in ways that I cannot be. For example, she is a social worker, and has the patience of a saint as she deals with her mentally ill clients. Her job is this: People who would be institutionalized for crimes or mental illness (the two are tangled up very often) get to live at home rather than prison or an institution, and she is paid by the state to visit them and make sure they are doing ok, do some art therapy with them, and monitor things like money and medication. It allows the clients freedom, and saves a lot of money for the state. I could never do that; I would last about 2 hours.

Kathy and I are different in our faith, too; she is not as "religious-y" as I am. That doesn't mean that she isn't just as thoughtful or engaged as I am-- her faith and ideas about spirituality go well beyond Unitarian Kitchen Dancing, and her life much more closely follows what Christ taught than mine does (whether she thinks of it that way or not).

So.... we're on the lift, and I she tells me about a few of her clients. Her stories are deep and rich and full of life; about people who are outcasts and confused, but who have these parts of their lives that make total sense in the midst of it all, this messy (often tragic) gorgeousness.

Imagining the danger of it, the dislocation, I asked her, "What do you tell them?"

She turned her head for a minute, looked at the trees pictured above, and said, "I tell them that God loves them. I tell them that God loves them just as they are."

Isn't that exactly what Jesus wants us to do, to love our neighbor, to reassure them?

Kathryn Elaine Osler may not be religious-y, but she is the best missionary I have ever met.

"...God loves them just as they are."

So many stories, "...deep and rich and full of life." So many - too many of our brothers and sisters asking only to be noticed, much less affirmed, embraced.

My Christmas gift this year for my 18 month old grandaughter was a donation, on her behave, to "K.I.N.D." Kids In Need of Desks in Malawi. How can photographs of children sitting on the ground during the school day not move us and refocus our sensibilities on the many, "messy" social concerns too often ignored and relegated to remain under the radar?

Our gift of life comes with a "built-in" forum, our voice - a voice that can welcome, affirm, encourage or dismiss.

"The circle of love around the Lord’s Table is always greater than we imagine it to be..."
- Reverend Willard, Oct 2011

"The simplest truth." Life surrounds us. Our words, choices and actions define us.

"Us" possibly the least necessary life form in all of God's creation. Since childhood, my most recurring spiritual conversation returns to, "Lord, humankind seems so unnecessary - Why were we given life?"

Kathryn Elaine Osler's stories (John, 15:12?) - and many like hers. Too many stories? Not nearly enough...
The Osler clan is full of big, open, loving hearts. A true gift to all of us who know you.
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