A new commandment I give to you: love one another as I have loved you." John 13:34
When I was a third grader, Mrs. Depperschmidt was my teacher. I have more memories of that school year than any other elementary year. I learned a lot that year; academic stuff as well as important life lessons. Mrs. Depperschmidt taught us how to spell her last name (no kidding, it was a spelling word) she taught us how to multiply, how to write proper sentences and how to say ‘sit down and be quiet’, in Spanish. She taught me how to be kind and concerned without being a ‘mother hen’ and she made me feel like a brilliant reader even thought I was nowhere as good a reader as my friend Penny. I remember wanting to be more like both of them. Mrs. Depperschmidt often shared stories of her experience as a 4-H exchange student in South America. I thought that made her the bravest woman I knew; she even had 4-H business cards with her picture on them. That made her famous. I wanted to be just like her when I grew up. I’m blessed for more reasons than I can count and having a long list of wonderful people like Mrs. Depperschmidt influence my life is the reason.
It seems everywhere I turn lately I am bombarded with gun control and other similar political arguments. I have to admit that I am not a politically minded person so it makes me pretty nuts. I should also add that I’m the woman who would walk a mile around a situation to avoid a conflict or argument…it’s just how I’m wired I guess. Several days ago I was feeling a little flustered about the whole situation and I saw a quote that said, ‘the solution to the problem is not gun control, the solution is teaching and DEMONSTRATING the value of human life.’ Sometimes we can’t see the forest for the trees! Is it an oversimplification; maybe for some. Is it simple Christian logic; you bet your boots it is!! In about 20 words we find our mission…the Gospel mission…Jesus’ mission. It’s the Great Commandment in different words. If we don’t pay attention we’re going to get ourselves in a really big pickle!
One of the biggest reasons Mrs. Depperschmidt had such an impact on my life, and probably the life of all of her students, is that she valued us. She respected the way each of us was creatively made by God. If we were
to make a list of all the people who had a positive impact on us, most of the
names on that list would be there because of the way we were treated by that person. We each have the capacity and the responsibility to teach and demonstrate the value of human life. It happens one soul at a time…one kind action; one generous deed; one unselfish gesture…that’s how it starts. Twelve simple men without specialized backgrounds, training or credentials set out to spread the Word and Promise of their good friend Jesus…and those twelve simple, virtually unqualified men absolutely changed the world. We are called to follow in their footsteps. We, in many ways are just like them; faithful, humble, unqualified friends of Jesus who simply HAVE TO set out on a mission to spread the message and change the world. The peace and love of the Father are the qualifications we need. Luckily, we have all been equipped with both…now let’s get to the business of sharing them…it’s impossible to be disrespectful of life if love, peace and respect are the pillars of all we do and say. When you get up out of your chair and start you mission, don’t forget to look back and thank some of those people in your life who valued, respected, influenced and inspired you, then go return the favor by doing what they did!
A Seed to Plant: Be diligent about the way you value and respect others through your words and actions. Remember especially to value and respect those folks in your path who are difficult to get along with!
Blessings on your day!