I Want To Love You More.

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Cynthia Hurd was one of the nine people killed Wednesday during a Bible study inside the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina. As I listened to an interview on NPR days after, I heard Malcolm Graham, a former North Carolina state senator, and Cynthia’s brother, talk about his memory of her.

At 54, Cynthia was a mother figure to their family, having five siblings, she was the glue that held them together. Her brother went on and said that she loved the library and reading, having worked in a library for 31 years. As he spoke passionately about her it was clear that she loved God. Having grown up in the church, Cynthia sang in the choir and was at a bible study that fateful night.

His words struck me. She. Loved. God. As I drove and the interview closed, suddenly these words bubbled up inside of me, “I want to love you more”. I began to ponder, how do I love God? Why, sometimes is it hard to love God? This moment struck me so deeply that I began to examine my life. It caused me to consider my thoughts, my words, my emotions, my actions, and just how I spend my precious time. Am I loving God? What does that look like for me? Do I love him when it’s convenient, when it’s easy, only when I need him? These thoughts did not come from a place of condemnation but rather a place of going deeper in relationship with Him.

The words, I want to love you more continue to ring loudly throughout my soul. I want to love him more. I pray that I will have the courage to be obedient to his call every day, to be faithful in the little things. I don’t want to be a back seat driver to this life when it comes to loving God and loving people. I don’t want to ask why when He asks.

What would it be like to leave a legacy like Cynthia has? I want to be known for loving God, no matter what that means. I want my actions to speak it. My words to edify it. If I don’t do anything else well in this world, this is what I want most. Cynthia Hurd has inspired me. To be a better person. To love better.

Legacy by Nichole Nordeman

I want to leave a legacy, how will they remember me?
Did I choose to love? Did I point to you enough
To make a mark on things? I want to leave an offering
A child of mercy and grace who blessed your name
Unapologetically and leave that kind of legacy

Hear the story about Cynthia Hurd here on Here and Now:
http://hereandnow.wbur.org/2015/06/19/charleston-victim-hurd-brotherCross

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The stories this table could tell.

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How many of us actually have meals at a table anymore? It seems to be a lost tradition. It’s not just a meal that is had at a table; it’s conversation, it’s listening, it’s sharing, it’s knowing, it’s loving.

I spent many years pulling up a bench to a farm table. When I was a little girl, my great grandmother Mimi hosted family meals every Sunday afternoon. I don’t know how she did it. She prepared a meal for at least a dozen people weekly, including dessert. I recall many days sitting on the ice cream maker. And then there was her fried chicken. Mimi was a wonderful cook.

Meals at a table have always been meaningful to me. I chose to purchase a farm style table about eight years ago, with the purpose of sharing food around it with people I love. Many have blessed me by their company over the years. I used to have my Granny and Mom over every month to test new recipes. Holidays are especially meaningful around this table. I cherish the conversations that have been shared around this table and all the laughs I’ve had.

Because of this table, I have entertained some of my best friends, hosting an annual Christmas brunch. I’ve tried my hand at some daunting recipes that I thought I’d never master, yet succeeded. Best of all, I’ve shared special times and grown relationships because of this table. From daily coffees and my quiet time with God, first dinners, a birthday party, and a stake holders fundraiser; to Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Good Friday meals, and last suppers, this table is where it all happened. 

It still happens. While my mom no longer lives close enough to be at the table, I’m making a commitment to start inviting friends over monthly; to get to know each other, share stories, to know and to love.

My table.

My table.

 

Reconnecting. Sweet friendship.

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It had been two years since we last saw each other. Through the years, we would meet in passing at a restaurant. We had worked together through our involvement in a non-profit. I’ve always admired her; her poise, her strength, her beauty, her knowledge, her conviction. You know those times when you run into someone and with good intentions, you say…”let’s do lunch soon”! Then you never make good on the invitation. This time I did.

We met for lunch and caught up on community work, my new job (of 2 years), her family and travels. The conversation deepened as we talked about my Christian faith, her Jewish faith, hatred in the world today and her up and coming trip to Israel. We shared moving rapidly from one subject to the next. We talked about an organization who provides affordable speech pathology for stroke survivors here locally and my involvement in the fight against human trafficking.

Although brief, our time together inspired me. Just hearing about her life, her family, her travel and leadership endeavors inspired me. It felt good just to be with her, talking, sharing and getting to know her more. It was nice to be heard, like friends do, they listen. 

There are some people in life that make you laugh a little louder, smile a little bigger and live just a little more. I know she doesn’t know it, but she encourages me.

It won’t be so long that I wait next time, to call a friend and say “let’s do lunch”.sweet menu