June 26, 2020

Faith and Family / Sean Gallagher

Love family and friends more through God’s timeless eyes

Sean GallagherMy wife Cindy and I celebrated our 19th wedding anniversary earlier this month. One of the ways that we marked the occasion was by watching part of a video of our wedding day with some of our boys.

I hadn’t viewed it in many years. It turned out to be a moving experience in ways that I did not expect in advance.

Of course, I loved watching my beautiful bride and me. We were the stars of the show.

But, in some ways, my attention was caught more by all of our friends and loved ones who were on hand for that blessed liturgy at the old St. Bartholomew Church in Columbus and at the reception at the nearby Commons Mall.

I saw a niece and nephew who were only babies then but are now college sophomores. Then I saw a number of friends and family who have died. They included my mom, Cindy’s two grandmothers and a college friend of Cindy and I who died last fall.

Seeing a video of these people whom I love very much, made at a time when they and I were so different than we are now, maybe gave me a fleeting glimpse of God’s infinite love for each of us.

My love for the family and friends I saw in the video seemed so much more intense as I saw them as they were 19 years ago, remembering my relationship with them through the intervening years, and seeing them in my mind’s eye as they are now.

My love for them wasn’t any less before watching the video. It’s just that at other times I’m focused on the moment in which I’m living or carrying out the duties I’m called to take up at the time.

These are all good. Living in the moment can open us to God’s loving presence right before our eyes in our friends, family and even complete strangers. Doing what we’re called to do at a particular time is nothing less than fulfilling God’s will for us in that moment.

But perhaps we can understand God’s boundless love for us a little more by realizing that he sees the entirety of our lives in one instant, in what might be described as his “eternal now.”

In one glimpse, he sees the times when we cooperated with his grace to do his will in many small and sometimes large moments of our lives—loving others who might be hard to love or giving of ourselves to our children, family and friends at inconvenient times.

In one glimpse, he sees the many moments when we tried but failed to do his will, or even sought our own will instead of his, but repented of it later.

In one glimpse, he sees us bear suffering, both in hard times that are forced upon us and in trials of our own making. Perhaps especially in these moments, the love God has for his Son, who suffered for all of us, finds an echo in his love for us, his adopted sons and daughters.

So, when I watched our wedding video with my family, my love seemed a little more timeless and expansive for family members who have grown from infancy to young adulthood or who, please God make it so, have gone from this life to the heavenly wedding feast of the Lamb.

Maybe with the help of God’s grace, we can view in our daily lives our family and friends in such an expanded way and love them a little more like our heavenly Father does. †

Local site Links: