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When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives means the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand.Henri Nouwen

This quote resonates loudly with me.  Rick, Jason, Bart, Jacob, Rick, Everett and Dennis have loved me through very hard, very dark days.  They were with me daily, in person, by text or on the phone.  Certainly in prayer.  That extends out to Joey, David, Joe, Doyle, Mark, Jerry, Garry, Joe, Amy, Kyle, Zach, Beverly, Jeff, John, Dan, Barry, Donnie, Chris and many other people.  They walked with me too.  Then, there is my VSW.  Kelly.  My gift of grace from God.  So much light in my life.  So rich and deep in her soul.  Overflowing with hope and joy and love.

Some people never have one person that allows this quote to fit their lives.  I have a host of people.  I am tempted to question why some times but better judgment allows me to simply be thankful.  So today, I write about hurt and pain and anger and darkness from a different point of view.  I have walked through the valley of the shadow of death, or as I like to say, I have walked the edge of hell and came through it because so many people were holding my hands, pulling me, pushing me, holding me up, hugging me, encouraging me, challenging me, crying with me, laughing with me…loving me, loving me always, loving me unconditionally.

So today I look at Ferguson, Missouri and I empathize with so many people who are hurting.  On all sides of the issue.  I pray for peace in the midst of the storm.  I pray for conversation instead of gunfire, hope instead of stones.

So today I am thankful my VSW’s niece can call my VSW and share her hurt and know there is someone who will listen and love and hope and encourage.

So today I am praying for a friend of a friend of my VSW who is angry at God.  I do not know his specific journey but I know anger at God.  I pray he will find peace, that his anger will be focused where it belongs and he can find a way to forgive.

I hate a world full of hurt, hate, anger.  I want a world that does not include what is happening in Ferguson, drug addiction, suicide or Charles Manson.  I can hate what is bad and hope for something completely different than what is but that doesn’t make it go away.

So, in the middle of all of the mess I want to be a person who will share pain and touch wounds with a warm and tender hand.  I want to be the person that so many others have and continue to be in my life.  I want to be hope and peace and love.

Grace and peace.