God Loves My Enemies, Too?
(This story is presented with permission.)
I have been involved in formal spiritual direction for over 7 years now. Being a spiritual director is a deeply enriching experience that’s full of the warm fuzzy stuff – awe, witness and blessing. Most times, I don’t know what the directee will bring. Sometimes I know that the directee has been working through/on something and will likely bring that topic up.
One morning, my directee told me she was experiencing a place of un-freedom because she was tasked with heading a project for a co-worker no one liked. This person was blunt and cold and seemed to hate the world. Because I knew my directee always gave God praise for the ways she felt loved, I asked her how she might imagine God felt about her co-worker. She appeared stunned. “Are you suggesting that God loves her, too? I never thought about that. I guess it must be true, though. Wow. God loves her, too!” Shaking her head she continued, “I’m going to have to work on accepting that.” The project deadline was in 2 months.
At our next monthly meeting, my directee gave me an update on how the project was going. It had been difficult to communicate with “that co-worker” but she was enjoying completing the tasks of the project. And the thing that helped her the most was thinking during the tough spots that “God loves her, too.” Even so, she would be glad when it was done. By the time we met again, the project would be complete.
I was a little anxious to hear about how the project worked out. My directee was all smiles when I saw her next. “So…..” I nudged. “Oh the project went fine. Everything was all good. But I want to tell you about this other thing that I just can’t stop thinking about.” There was what I perceived as joy in her twinkling eyes. She went on to tell me that at the beginning of the week she got off the elevator at work and noticed a ways down the hall a bouquet of the most beautiful roses she had ever seen. She wondered if it were possible that they could be for her, but giggled because she knew that was just wishful thinking. She didn’t know anyone that would be sending her flowers. But – sure enough the flowers were for her. One of the co-workers that she got along really well with had harvested these roses from her own garden and decided to bring her some. “I just looked at these roses grateful for my friend’s kindness. I mean she was thinking nice thoughts about me before she even got to work. They made me smile because they were beautiful and so fragrant. I imagined that this is how God shows us love…little reminders of thoughtfulness and beauty when we least expect it. Every time I look at them I can’t help but think of how much God loves me.” We savored that thought for a few moments. Wanting to find a segue back to the unpleasant co-worker and God’s love for her, too I asked, “So you never told me what that project co-worker’s name was.” She exited her state of elation to answer. “Rosetta.” We both stared into each other’s eyes in complete awe and in unison said, “Whoa!” God just dropped the mic.