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LTJ #4: Blessings beyond Measure

“…give, and it will be given to you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap.  For the measure you give will be the measure you get back.”  (Luke 6:38)




and it will be given to you;


good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over,


[it] will be put into your lap.


For the measure you give…


will be the measure you get back.


I love this image from Luke.  Every time I hear it, a smile comes to my face and my heart is filled with joy.  This speaks profoundly to me.  It sounds like a recipe for success, but more importantly, it feels like a call to life.


As I journey further into the days, weeks, months and years ahead, I find myself checking more often the rear view mirrors of my life, so that I might never lose sight of the many blessings that have been bestowed upon me.  I consider each of these fortunes very much like endless presents I have received.  A beautiful image my wife shared with me a long time ago is blessings, like presents, come in “boxes within boxes, each bigger than the last”.


I’m sitting at the computer in my “upper room” of the house.  This is my little sanctuary of time and space.  It is the place where I do most of my school work, both now and hopefully in the near future.  As I look about the room, there is mostly clutter all behind me of things we have accumulated over time.  In many ways, we know not how to use all that we have, or at least where to put it.  Surely there are some we need keep at all.  But even with this ‘stuff’ about me, this is my little haven where I sit to pray and study, read and write, and sometimes just contemplate my life.  Lord knows, I’ve done a lot of “navel gazing” lately.  This has become one of my favorite places in our entire home.  But even with all that, this room is most important because of what it reminds me of.  My Family.


Pictures adorn the walls on almost three sides: to my left, in front of me, and to my right. 


On the wall I’m facing, there is a lovely portrait of my parents.  My father had served in the U.S. Navy thirty-four years, survived flying planes off/on aircraft carriers that sailed around the world to war; he had retired to attend seminary to become an Episcopal priest.  My mother raised three children while facing down demons found in a bottle and she beat back alcoholism.  This picture is a reminder of two beautiful people.  It was his seed and her womb that gave me life.  And they provided me a good life.  Abundantly.  There were troubles, travails, hurts and disappointments, and we all grew from them.  But there were more good times, joys, celebrations, and thanksgivings.  How fortunate I was to have my mother, and how grateful I am to still have my father.  One picture epitomizing countless blessings.


There are several pictures of my siblings and their children.  They are dated photos.  But I continue to give thanks for the strong and amazing person my older sister was then and is now.  And I still rejoice for the brother I grew up with who I treasure even more today.  Through these images flood forth so many memories.  I remember the day my oldest niece was born, and how I embarrassed my brother yelling down the hall at Lee H.S.  How amazed I was of the most excellent manners a nephew displayed.  The miracle that is my other nephew - he should glow in the dark from all the radiation his mother endured when being treated for brain tumors.  She was ultimately healed, and we all survived.  More and more blessings, each heaped one upon another.  And yet there is even more as I see another shoot from the family stump - my oldest niece with her two children, the twins.


Of course, there are many pictures of my wife, Heart Of My Heart – my mate, friend, lover and confidant.  There is a small photo of us kissing passionately during the exchange of the Peace at our wedding; below the picture is the garter I caught at her sister’s wedding when she caught the bouquet.  Next to that is a collage of moments from our courtship, along with the invitation to and pictures from our wedding rehearsal and reception.  Another is a church family portrait - us with our dogs.  And still other pictures about my desk and room of her many travels throughout the world.  She has taken me places around the globe, and shared many things that were special to her, and now to us.  To say HOMH is the greatest blessing of my life would be a grave understatement.  What she has given me, and continues to be to me, for me, and with me, I will never fully repay.  But I shall keep trying anyway.


Still there are other photos of more of my family: my father’s father and my grandfather; my uncle with my Dad, both as young naval officers, and much later when my father married again; my in-laws; still other nieces and nephews; some of our beloved pets long since deceased; and god-children, including the latest, but not the last.  Among these images are pictures of family gatherings which were important times of celebrations and other times of loss and remembrance.  There are many lives and so many more stories represented in the pictures in this room.  I wonder if a thousand words would be sufficient to do any of them the justice they deserve.


There is so many other parts of my existence, moments in my life, paths I have shared with others, and times and places I've experienced which represent even more bountiful gifts, far and beyond that of my own family.  All of which just add to the overwhelming amazement I feel when I try to offer thanks for the blessings of my life.  There are more than I can count, and even more of which I am unaware.  And yet there they are, with me as the benefactor.  It is not due to my own works for what I do offer seems so meager in comparison.  But I pray regularly that I am able to give something of my self to each and every person who has shared their life with me.  I know there were times when I had nothing to offer, and yet abundance still flowed forth from the other to me, around me, over me and through me.  I know all this comes from God.  All blessings come of Thee, O Lord.  And of our own have we given Thee.


So give, and it will be given unto you;

a good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and still running over, will be put into your lap.

For the measure you give will be the measure you get back.

Thanks be to God.  AMEN.