Thursday, January 31, 2008

Outflank the Enemy

We've all probably watched enough war movies to know what outflanking looks like on a military battlefield, but how do we "outflank" our spiritual adversary?

Well... it's something I'm learning... fascinating actually. You may do something similar every spring when shopping at the Home & garden store picking out your little packets of seeds. Even if there are no bright colored pictures of the actual carrots on the package you can just imagine like Wallace would say "the ver-it-a-ble, veg-i-ta-ble pa-ra-dise" that lies ahead as you strategically choose all those little packages.

Depending on the type of person you are, you may be distracted by the idea of all the work...(guilty) ...or you may be the effective dreamer who can already taste those hot sweet steamed baby carrots as the butter just drips down your chin. (That would be you, know food is your gifting...)

But regardless of how good and hopeful your imagination is, you do look ahead to the fruit, right? (Or vegetable in this case)? And that's the whole reason you buy the little seeds? You're thinking about dinner and how delicious it will be?

I will confess that with seven kids, I so intensely fear the work that a garden would mean. Although I look longingly at the adorable little packages of seeds in spring...I am hindered by my fear, discouraged and deflated, and I don't usually torture myself by imagining the harvest I'll be missing out on. I have found that the business of life often causes me to fail to contemplate the huge potential of the future enough. Perhaps this is why I am so long in catching on how the enemy tries to squelch the fruit in my own life. I simply, have a bad IMAGINATION and I get outflanked.

I believe since scripture informs us that "Satan will not outwit us for we are not unaware of his schemes", that he indeed schemes. Our imagination regarding these schemes often belies too much Buffy the Vampire slayer and too little familiarity of his way throughout scripture.

I have reaped great fruit as a result of making my imagination run wild about the fruit God would bring in my life and the lives I touch if I wouldn't be so gosh dang cotton pickin sensitive, hormonal, paranoid, self conscious, fearful, immature, introspective, too easily annoyed or provoked, prideful, competitive, guarded, ignorant the fruit up ahead, and of the ways the enemy plays off my nature. Sinful, in a nutshell.

Whenever I am struggling through an issue or with a person, I try to step back and take a good long objective look at just what the heck may be going on. I play it out in my mind. First I look ahead and imagine the fruit God may have planned: the juiciest carrot, the plumpest strawberry that I possibly can. Depending on the situation it may range from basic getting along with people, understanding each other, the absence of strife, harmony and success... to true deep and lasting friendships, growing churches, friends and families that lay down their lives for each others, healed marriages, gentle mothers, joyful children, peace through tragedies and trials, faithfulness to spouses, victory over addictions and strongholds of sin, loving and healthy relationships that are so bursting with fruit that the source cannot be ignored!

Of course there is the outright stated fruits from Galations..., joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self control...

...all of which if functioning together, we simply could not imagine the likes of the HARVEST because we are small, human and so temporal minded. But we MUST TRY!

But where there is no vision, the people are unrestrained. ~Prov. 29:18

Then I look at what may happen to screw that all up: Petty arguments, reading each other's minds, being too self aware, being lazy and neglectful, boastful, jealous, ungraciousness and impatience with each others' sins, sharp tongues, hate, depression, anxiety that causes us to complain, gossip, slander, bitterness, faithlessness, broken promises, not carrying each others' burdens, rash reactions, envy, covetousness, ignorance, apathy, lack of self control, sacrastic and pride, pride, pride prrrriiiiiiiiiiieeeeeeeeEEEEEEEEEd. I could go on.

And then I look real honestly at what is going on with me, back up a bit, remember that everything good is from God, especially the people involved and at some point my own sin, and the scheming enemy has entered in and befuddled* me. I have realized that outflanking him only requires that I cast off and repent of my sin, search eagerly for what God's victory might be--(the fruit), anticipate Satan's tactics, remembering always that HE and my own depraved self is my enemy...(not the people I am struggling to be understood by.....never them.)

I have found that the single best flanking maneuver is to zero in on that thing that is irking me and causing me to ruminate or complain. Whether it is a family member, friend, situation at church or work, I consider that this opposition and irkment* may be there for a reason! Our adversary has been around since the garden of Eden people! He and his legions know how these things go down! His specialty is using all that petty, everyday sinful stuff that builds and builds to the breaking point and all the christians are standing around wondering what happened when our relationships grow distant and tolerant, marriages splinter, churches split, children run the opposite direction.... and we wonder why the world stands aloof and even turned seriously off?

But if you bite and devour one another, take care that you are not consumed by one another. ~Galations 5:15

In fact, not only is our Enemy probably familiar and skilled in the sinful nature of humanity in general, but I would go so far as to say that on a personal level, He has some degree of knowledge of us and will likely go straight for our kneecaps, our achilles heels...our habitual little piles of vomit that we constantly return to, given that we are already exchanging our truth for a lie.

It makes sense to tighten the ranks by running towards, then alongside the people I am called to love. The closer I get, the more clearly I see them as NOT the enemy. In fact, most likely needing me just as much to run alongside them together against the real enemy and for the real prize.

Are you struggling with someone or something? Are you forgetting to look through spiritual eyes up ahead to the fruit that God means to produce through it? God will get His fruit--His glory! Will it be you that He uses? If there are seemingly huge obstacles between you and this person/situation it may be possible the enemy has a better imagination than you and is seeking to steal and destroy the greatest potential for fruit there is! Have you considered that? What must God be planning for there to come such a battle! Instead of running away or continuing in the futile battering...outflank your enemy by what he least expects and most fears.

We are out witted in the sheer fact that we have not looked at what God is doing. An army that is divided is SO EASILY OUTFLANKED!

As you set your mind on the fruit, remember that only Satan is our true enemy and that God has called us to only love each other and seek after the lost, you can let your imagination run wild as you imagine the magnitude of the ways He might use you. It feels a bit suicidal at times to open ourselves up and run towards our very fears and irks, the very real wounds of our perceived enemies.... our cross. But it is our calling.

Now those who belong to Christ have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. ~Gal 5:24,25

Tighten those ranks and let's outflank our real enemy together!

*Befuddled is my favorite word right now.

*Irkment- I made that work up I think.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Wine poured out

When many things are going wrong, it can be very difficult to get to the bottom of what is really wrong.

We tend to problem solve, starting with the thing making the most "noise". (Often that really IS the problem and we need to just use common sense and take an ibuprofen, or put a screeching toddler to bed.) That was my morning this morning. Not a headache or screeching toddler, but a headache, screeching toddler, my health bottoming out again, I've somehow gotten a month behind on our schooling and still not "accomplished" anything, feeling that sense again of letting people down, struggling to be a good steward but having constant new expenses that crop up... Some of my physical ailments are quite simply just making it hard to think clearly. I've been overwhelmed with all the typical Mommy things, piled up laundry, clutter piling high, dental appointments, feeling hormonal, etc... (I could go on, but trust me, you don't want me to).

And somehow, focus was veering off into left field. Maybe it's lacking good time in the Word. Maybe it's taking in too many worldy philosophies through the tube while I haven't been feeling so hot. Maybe it's forgetting to take those thoughts captive that are specifically designed to discourage us in what we already know to do. Probably all of the above...

I tend to be pretty hard on myself (which I know, is sin), and instead of enjoying all the things I've checked off my list in a day, I add more and more until I'm absolutely wiped out and feeling discouraged about everything I didn't accomplish. (Never accomplish). The things I do accomplish simply felt like they weren't enough. It's that feeling of waste, futility and vanity that Solomon described so well in Ecclesiastes.

Much of the work of mothers is continuous and revolving. There are always dishes, laundry, poop, the bathroom always gets REAL dirty just moments after a deep scouring...tummies are always empty soon after they were filled (often before clean up from the last meal has even been finished!) I was feeling that old familiar sense of pouring my life out, feeling like I'm coming close to an empty tank and not remembering. Not remembering what I know to do!

This morning I was evaluating myself in light of all those things I'm struggling in and not measuring up to....all the unchecked boxes again, while using my own feelings and emotions as the measuring stick-- The litmus test in the current new age Oprafied folly of self actualization and fulfillment.

Ironically it was a chapter from Elisabeth Elliot's Keep a Quiet Heart book specifically titled and intented "The Childless Man or Woman" that shook me out of my backwards thinking. Everything she says is always so inspiring and some of my dearest friends are childless, so of course I read the chapter for the childless.

Her context was encouragment to the childless to still pour out the love they would have on their own children on others while not being discouraged by their feeling of loss, but to just keep pouring. She quoted the italian preacher Ugo Bassi's beautifully put words. It turned my day around around in such a way that I must quote it for you.

We are to measure our lives by loss and not by gain, not by the wine drunk, but by the wine poured forth, for love's strength standeth in Love's sacrifice, and he who suffereth most hath most to give.
~Ugo Bassi
This quote was straight from heaven for me today. Funny how God is able to do that isn't it? I had even been moping in the fact that my health problems are requiring me to cut out all sugars, starches, refined carbs, anything fermented, even the sugar in my beloved cup of coffee, my daughter's birthday cake, not to mention wine. The words "wine poured out" written so many years ago, were ordained for me today. Elloquence of an italian preacher, but a concept straight from Jesus Christ who was the ultimate sacrifice poured out so that we can have this hope and freedom.
It's such a temptation to measure ourselves by what we see, isn't it?! When we stop that folly and assess what we've been pouring our lives into... what may be invisible to the naked eye because it is yet a little seedling under mounds of dirt... we can feel refreshed and hopeful again knowing that a godly harvest is up ahead taking our worth in the fact that our Father always sees what our human eyes do not. We can lay down the heavy burdens of needing to see, as well as needing others to see what we're here for.

Monday, January 28, 2008

One Year Ago Today...

...Me and Juliet pulled a fast one...I can't imagine life without this precious little girl--the joy of all her six siblings who surprised us by being born in the front seat of the family van that crisp early January morning!

Yeah, we thought we were pretty funny staging that there picture. We couldn't help but put it on the birth announcements. All kidding aside though? This picture pretty well nails it! Brian... sipping his coffee while driving laboring wife to hospital...looks over to discover wife already swaddling said kid in a towel... Brian exclaims "Oh my gosh, Liz!" and proceeds to exit freeway... That's it in a nutshell, but if you are the type that at all enjoys a good birth story, I wrote it all out in Juliet Mercy's I-5 Birth Story so I wouldn't forget all those details. (Not that it was something I'd forget...) Gemma took this picture for us two days after she was born, on the way home from a post partum visit to the midwife. I can't believe it's been a year already!
What a precious little angel God sent us!
Big smiles at 2 days old...I have never understood the idea of an older sibling resenting the entrance of a new baby to the family and why people seem to expect it now days. I get frequent questions about it when I am expecting, and lately from many young mothers expecting their second. We have never once had a problem with it and although there is that slight chance we have gotten "lucky"... I think after seven babies that it's unlikely. I have had such the opposite experience and seen it as well in the families I know that I have come to believe that sibling jealousy is very much up to the parents. (I've also watched plenty of TLC's A Baby Story while on bedrest in the past) and learned how not to do things. The best advice I can give to Mommas welcoming in subsequent children begins with not allowing that fear and doubt to even find a place in your mind. God says children are a blessing. So they just ARE a blessing to their siblings.
Children are a gift, and who benefits more than their siblings? Start right by not believing the lie that a new baby is anything but the greatest gift to the older siblings.

I think the moment of first eye contact between mother and each older sibling after the baby is born is a very monumental moment for older children as they assess their position in the family and what this new member means for them. Only when mother treats them like a nuisance or a potential danger to new fragile baby, is there a need for concern. And who would blame them? Let your eyes light up at them like brighter than they've ever seen before as you welcome them in to hold their new baby! Let your confidence in them be evident, and you will see them rise to the challenge of "big brother" and "big sister" like you could never imagine. You can "spot" a very young child while they hold their new baby in a totally inconspicuous way so as to communicate to them that they are a fellow caregiver to this new little bundle...and not viewed as a threat. Just as it is foundational that the older sibling(s) feel secure that a new member will not diminish their place in the family but on the contrary enhance is essential that the older children have come to understand boundaries, parental control, respect and obedience to Momma long before the baby moves in and becomes the necessity for a training that is too late in coming. That, would be a breeding ground for jealousy and vice. If a toddler is in the habit of jerking mom around and demanding his every want be met, then when Mom first sits to nurse a newborn and now expects the toddler to suddenly know how to stave off his impulses and desires, there could be trouble yes, and some ill feelings could be directed towards the new baby. Again, the problem is not due to a new baby... only that this new baby happened to be the first thing to raise the stakes in a need for training.
Like I said though, I feel it is more a parent induced problem than anything. In this case, like many, prevention is the best medicine and I encourage other mothers to look ahead with absolute JOY and anticipation of the loving, protective and giving relationships that all her children can have. Train early, build up your child's anticipation by calling your pregnant bump "her baby" or "his new little brother", emphasizing what an important honor it is to be a big brother or sister and how much you'll need them! I have let my four year olds change newborn diapers with baby safely on the floor. It is REALLY fun to watch! :) I find they take to it naturally when they do not sense fear or expectation of jealousy on the parents' part.

Hopefully I will get my hands on a camera today and have some 1 year old birthday pictures of my sweet little Juliet to post later. If not...we will fake the photo opp later. She is such a little doll, running around like crazy on those chubby little legs.

We are truly blessed.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Juliet Mercy's I-5 Birth Story

Juliet Mercy’s Birth Story 1-29-07

The first contraction that seemed to signal true labor was around 4:22 in the morning Jan. 29th, one day past my due date. For about the last eight weeks or so I had been struggling terribly with stomach flu, indigestion and constant contractions so I wasn’t too sure, but got up to shower and see where things went. A funny thing I remember is having expressed concerns to my midwife that due to the flu, and constant (painful!) contractions over the weeks, I was worried about my ability to recognize true labor in time. She had just laughed and said “Oh, but we always make it, don’t we?”

I told Brian I thought I was in labor and while I showered, he notified Grandma and called Miss April over to watch the kids. I remember being so sick and exhausted throughout that night and thinking I just couldn’t handle labor if it happened soon, but once I knew it was the real thing, I switched fully over into prayer mode and began gaining some strength.

I had strongly desired a natural birth this time, but my high hopes were still mixed with a lot of fear. My first two labors were un-medicated, yet not what I would call natural births, and were really, really tough. My last four were great epidurals, and the temptation was very strong to think I needed that epidural this time, for one reason or another.

As I got ready to leave for the hospital, I continued to use a lot of my newly learned relaxation techniques from recent reading, and really mentally “went with” the contractions thinking to help labor along. As labor quickly intensified, my only true comfort was prayer and the confidence in who I prayed to. The main goal in childbirth obviously is health and safety for the baby and me, but I always have a very strong personal desire to glorify God in dignity and kindness to others. This time I also really wanted to set a strong positive example to my daughters that this is God’s created process that we can have confidence in, but was realizing I still needed to regain my own confidence.

You never want to get to the hospital too soon, because the longer you’re on their clock, the more danger you’re in of the invasive things they think they need to do to you. However, when I couldn’t read the clock, couldn’t get my shoes on and make-up became totally out of the question, I realized we had no time to lose. I had asked Brian if he could “please stop asking me questions during contractions” and while I struggled to get ready, I noticed him sort of “hovering” around a lot, not seeing any break in the contractions! He had to help me with my shoes and I prayed then “Lord, You’ve given me so much mercy in this life…please…just a little more?!?!” I vividly remember being so humbled in my dependence, yet encouraged as the truth of God’s Word filled my mind—that His mercies are unceasing, unfailing, and they don’t get used up! Thank goodness!

Before I left the house, I decided to check my cervix to get an idea of where I was at. I was totally and completely confused at what felt like mostly to full dilation and an apparently bulging bag of waters with no head in sight?! This was a total shock from the 1-2 cm just an hour before! Being untrained and unsure about what I was feeling, I got my butt into the van! Contrary to the news reports, I was not in the back, but actually in the front passenger seat throughout the entire experience. (I guess people have a hard time imagining that part) J It was around 5:30 a.m. when we left, and at that point my prayers were condensed to the one word—“Mercy?!?!” Pulling out of the driveway I asked Brian to “please, drive very carefully” and that was the last I remember speaking until I actually delivered. It was early and still dark, he was sipping his coffee, and although it smelled awful to me, I figured he would need it for the road ahead.

I have always labored very quietly and do the best untouched and undisturbed with quiet time to think, and pray on my own. (Ironic, since I’m normally a talker! J) Brian knows me well, so he just focused on quietly and smoothly getting us there. My worry increased while holding my phone in my hand unable to dial the doctor or speak from the intensity. I finally reached my doctors answering service right about the time we reached I-5 and… hit the brunt of the Monday morning rush hour traffic. This was the point when I started doing the math, and in my mind became overwhelmed with the pain and fear of what I thought I couldn’t handle. I began having visions of hospital parking lot deliveries! Still saying nothing to Brian, I simply needed every ounce of my being to pray, keep calm and think what to do. I began getting the urge to push, and was holding myself up on the armrests because the pressure was so unbearable. I tried to breathe through it for several contractions when Brian noticed and asked if I had the urge to push? I grunted some sort of a “yes.” In all my seven labors, this was the first I had ever had an actual urge to push so I realized it was probably upon me.

Having had three babies with severe respiratory distress, there had been a lot of concern for the safety of the baby in my mind up to this point, and a lot of dependence on man made machines. But God impressed very strongly and clearly then in my thoughts that if He was going to allow the baby to be born in the van, He was going to enable it to breathe in the van.

I could no longer fight it and felt the head begin to descend very quickly on its own. I immediately and instinctively unbuckled, lowered my pants down just enough to reach and feel the head actually emerging. I think I remember having one foot on the seat or dashboard but am not totally sure how I negotiated that position!

Using pain as a guide, I gently and slowly eased the head out with my hands attempting to prevent injury for the baby and I. Once the head crowned with the worst of the pain past, my own head cleared and my fear was gone!!! With a surge of adrenaline I suddenly thought “I’m having the baby myself and I know what to do now!”

While still traveling about 60 mph, I very gently put downward pressure on the head and the top shoulder slipped easily out (just like the books said!) I reached down to slip my finger under her bottom shoulder to deliver both shoulders and lift her up and onto my chest!!! I was holding my BABY!!!

This was when Daddy looked over for the shocker of his life, saw his baby’s silhouette on my chest and realized just what had happened! He said “Oh my gosh, LIZ!!!” and started exiting the freeway! Later, he said although he heard nothing from me, he looked over when he actually heard the “pop” of the water breaking and heard the sounds of the actual birth! (whatever that means?) J So also contrary to the news reports, Brian was neither “frantic” nor “hurtling down the freeway to the hospital”. Brian Kirkman was sipping his coffee and TOTALLY surprised when he saw his baby! J The atmosphere in the van was quiet, calm and dark, with the heater blowing nice and warm all ready for a naked newborn to hit the scene! People often ask how I had the space to maneuver things. I’ve realized that big hospital rooms, bright lights and stirrups are for doctors, not Mommas. J

Another area where God had been abundantly gracious to me is how He had so mercifully used my many doubts and worries to cause me to research emergency births and things like cord clamping over the recent weeks. He had sovereignly used my doubts to prepare me! I had my heart set on a natural late cord clamp so baby could receive all its own oxygen rich blood, having learned that it is a natural safeguard to wait, while baby still gets oxygen from the mother for several minutes after birth or as long as the cord pulses. So instead of fear and uncertainty at that critical moment in the van with my little baby, I just kept an eye on the cord and had confidence and peace in the knowledge that although she wasn’t crying vigorously yet, I knew she had oxygen through that pulsing cord, had great color, was calmly looking at me, and just wasn’t scared or uncomfortable enough to cry! I guess her experience was quiet, dark and warm with the only sounds being the hum of the engine and her Momma saying “Hey little baby…time to breathe.” My own seasoned Mom had suggested Brian grab a towel before we left the house, in case my water broke, and I used it to quickly wrap her up and to clean her mouth and nose. Daddy detoured for Northwest Hospital, and was on the phone with the 911 dispatcher telling them to be ready for us at the ER.

It was about 6:30 when it had finally occurred to me since the baby was clearly stable that I might check if “the baby” was a boy or a girl! I unwrapped the towel, took a peek and it was my GIRL!!! Yey! Everyone had been SO hoping for and craving a little baby girl! I just couldn’t believe this was all true!!!

Everyone seems curious about the transitional process and amused to find out that the baby and I were still “attached” when we arrived. Once at the Emergency room, several startled nurses gathered round to help me onto a stretcher and into the hospital. When a somewhat flustered nurse held out her arms and said “Okay…let’s see…how about you hand the baby to me….” I had to reply “Um…no, we’re still hooked up.” She went to Plan “B” (which meant I didn’t have to hand my baby over to anyone yet! )

Thanks to a long black maternity pea coat I was still wearing, I was able to move from the van to the stretcher very modestly despite holding my still attached baby! This was a rather important detail to me and I thank God for even that amazing protection and “covering”. (We later discovered my coat buttons littered about the van and realized I must’ve pulled an “incredible hulk” while delivering.)

We named our little bundle Juliet, and later, after Grandma arrived and described Papa Tim’s reaction to the van birth story—(he said “MERCY!”)--I remembered all my pleas for mercy, and her middle name was decided! Once it all sunk in, I realized what a gift the whole experience had been and I wouldn’t change a single thing! The rest is…well it really is history! KING 5 News covered our story and did a beautiful God-glorifying job of it. We were front page on both the Seattle Times and the Everett Herald, with articles in the P.I. and newspapers as far away as Israel!!!

It amazes and humbles me to serve a God who answers prayers before He even puts them in my heart. His loving kindness and mercy brings me to my knees. I look back and believe He must have been chuckling to Himself as I prayed, worried and fretted about that epidural decision! HA! To hold another brand new life in my arms…a precious little daughter so protected and healthy, and so undeserved on my part, I thank God once again for who HE is, and all He’s given us. Juliet’s little life has already been a display of His goodness and my greatest prayer is that the lives of all my children, however many God plans to bless us with, will ALL always reflect the greatness and unfailing tender mercies of our Creator, and our Deliverer.

I waited patiently for the LORD; and He inclined unto me, and heard my cry. He brought me up also out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings. He hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the LORD. Blessed is the man that maketh the LORD his trust, and respecteth not the proud, nor such as turn aside to lies. Many, O LORD my God, are thy wonderful works which thou has done, and thy thoughts which are to us-ward: they cannot be reckoned up in order unto Thee: if I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered. ~Psalm 40:1-6

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Cannon Coveting

So it seems Best Buy doesn't cover camera bludgeonings by two year olds after all. They called and said it would cost $180 to fix that old piece of junk camera?! Yeah right.

(sigh) I guess I'll have to dig through the picture archives to commemorate the upcoming (and very sentimental) one year birth day of my little darling Juliet and her exciting arrival in the family van on I-5.

Hey...come to think of it... I had meant to bill her father for the delivery and it slipped my mind! Hmmm.... anyone know the going rate for a delivery these days? I want my camera and my paycheck! Aww...I know I know... now's the part where I shout "I want an Oompaloompa and I want it now!" and start turning blue and floating away...

Our pastor gave a really good sermon on coveting this Sunday. I just checked to see if it was available on the church webpage yet and discovered it is not. It's pretty bad when you begin coveting a sermon on coveting...

Monday, January 21, 2008

Parent Teacher Conferences

We were supposed to be "back to school" after the nice long holidays. (I like to stick more to the college schedules) ;)

Well... then last night I began coming down with some sort of achy, sneezy, stinging, watery-eyed malady and to make matters worse this morning none of the substitutes showed up for school---again! So I guess we're all taking a sick day. I felt really discouraged until I remembered it's Martin Luther King day and most kids are taking today off. (So that must be why no subs have shown)

In addition to that great news, I heard that some schools are having parent teacher conferences this Thursday and Friday! OOH heck yeah!

So now I just need to find a babysitter for all my little "students" because I could really use seven "conferences" with their father!!!!
uh heh heh heh....


FYI: my camera is getting repaired so hopefully I'll having something less annoying to blog soon. ;)

Thursday, January 3, 2008

The Weight of Glory

It may be possible for each of us to think too much of his own potential glory hereafter; it is hardly possible for him to think too often or too deeply about that of his neighbour. The load, or weight, or burden, of my neighbour's glory should be laid daily on my back, a load so heavy that only humility can carry it, and the backs of the proud will be broken. It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses to remember that the dullest and most uninteresting person you may talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship, or else a horror and corruption such as you now meet if at all only in a nightmare.

All day long we are in some degree helping each other to one or the other of these destinations. It is in light of these overwhelming possibilities it is with awe and the circumspection proper to them, that we should conduct all our dealings with one another, all friendships, all loves, all play, all politics. There are no ordinary people. You have never met a mere mortal, Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations, these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit -- immortal horrors or ever lasting splendours.

This does not mean that we are to be perpetually solemn. We must play. But our merriment must be of the kind (and it is, in fact, the merriest kind) which exists between people who have, from the outset, taken each other seriously--no flippancy, no superiority, no presumption. And our charity must be real and costly love, with deep feeling for the sins in spite of which we love the sinners--no mere tolerance, or indulgence which parodies love as flippancy parodies merriment. Next to the Blessed Sacrament itself, your neighbor is the holiest object presented to your senses. If he is your Christian neighbour, he is holy in almost the same way, for in him also Christ vere latitat, the glorifier and the glorified, Glory Himself, is truly hidden.

~C.S. Lewis The Weight of Glory