Pure and Lovely

I don’t want to write today.  I am tired.

During the week just past, there have been too many of them.  Too many who need–too many who hurt–too many who have lost hope.  I hear them; I see them;  I sometimes even smell them.

My mind says, “Think about other things.”  Years ago, I memorized the verse in Philippians 4 that ends with these words:  “…whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue and if there be any praise, think on these things.”

So, I stick my fingers in my ears and hum loudly.  “La La La La La!”  I think about how blessed I am.  I wonder how my doctor’s appointment will go tomorrow.  I am proud of my physical achievements over the last months.  Will he be as pleased?

I take my fingers out of my ears momentarily and still I hear them.  No clothes–no food–no job–life is empty.

My doctor’s appointment is just another walk in the park compared to the ones many of them have endured recently.  I have the luxury of hope for years of health.  They don’t.

I worry about painting the trim on my house and mowing the over-tall yard.  They have lost their homes and live in their cars and in the already overcrowded houses of relatives.

I visit with my grandchildren and dream of our future together.  The folks I hear don’t see any future at all, except more misery and more want.

Their voices clamor for attention.  Not just for my attention.  You may not have heard them yet, but you will.

I don’t want to write about them anymore.

I want life to be carefree and easy again, without the inconvenience of these interruptions.  And then I realize–that was never promised to me.  If, like me, you believe in God’s Word, you understand that Jesus himself told us we would have troubles in this life.

And the words I quoted earlier from Philippians?  Purelovely?  Somehow I don’t think they mean exactly what we take them to mean.

I want to make this clear.  Pure is not some Perfect 10 who spends thousands on skin creams and body rinses.  Lovely is not the well-to-do family who lives in a gated community, with every amenity known to mankind.  Oh, those things aren’t bad, but if the Perfect 10 closes her ears to the cries of those around her, and the family with everything withholds help from those in need they can see right outside their locked gates, I can assure you of one thing; they know nothing of pure and less than nothing of lovely.

Pure and lovely is the dirt you get on your hands as you help that widow woman who has no one.  Pure and lovely is the stench of unwashed bodies that rubs off when you give a hug to that person you also just fed or slipped a few dollars to.  Pure and lovely is the result when we show love to those whom we erroneously label unattractive and unlovely.

I don’t feel very pure and lovely.  Some days, I’m not even sure that I want pure and lovely.  But, the apostle who suggested the formula for finding virtue and gaining praise in that earlier quote also suggested that we mustn’t tire in doing good.

It’s good advice.

So–fingers out of ears–it’s time to hear the sounds of the world around us.

I’ll even shake off the lethargy I feel and get busy again.  Are you with me?

Pure and lovely looks great on you!

“What is lovely never dies, but passes in other loveliness.”
(Thomas Bailey Aldrich ~ American poet/novelist ~ 1836-1907)

“So let’s not get tired of doing what is good.  At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.”
(Galatians 6:9 ~ NLT)

© Paul Phillips. He’s Taken Leave. 2013. All Rights Reserved.

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2 thoughts on “Pure and Lovely

  1. Paul I read this and cried! I SO NEEDED TO READ IT! I’ve been through so much lately and was feeling sorry for myself. I needed to be reminded and to give thanks for all that I DO have and to be reminded that there are so many others who have it worse than I and I need to reach out to them and help in whatever little way I can and not let myself become overwhelmed with the masses who need help just to survive. Baby steps is still a step. Thank you and God Bless!

    1. Thanks for your note, Sher. It’s a lesson that I have to learn over and over, too. It seems that no matter how difficult our situation, we can still help others. I’m glad to hear that this touched you. Hang in there! The baby steps will be giant strides soon enough! Blessings!
      Paul

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