by Ken Rolheiser
Do you know how incredibly special you are

I thought I would start this column with a joke about being special. The first joke I found was described as incredibly special. It said:
I just made up a new word.
The new word is plagiarism.

The Kadupil flower, native of Sri Lanka, is one of the most expensive flowers in the world. It is so fragile it blooms just before midnight and perishes by morning. Its sweet fragrance is calming in an almost mystical way.

I Googled this flower and watched in time lapse photography how the Queen of the night or Flower from heaven as it is also called opened its rare and beautiful white-yellow cactus flower.

But the Kadupil flower has very ordinary, inexpensive seeds. So much like us. We are here on earth in the billions. Just ordinary people. Now where was I going with this?

What makes us priceless, precious (I’m groping for expletives here), is that we are never alone. You and I are so special that God revealed through Jeremiah: I am with you…

How different your day and mine would be if we realized that simple fact: God is with us.

Would we ever feel alone and dejected? Depressed and forlorn? Would we ever feel useless and unimportant? Would we be afraid to face even death?

How about having courage to try new things? Jeremiah was fearful, but God said, “Though they fight against you, they shall not prevail, for I am with you” (15:20).

Like Jeremiah, we need to trust in God and then we will have courage. We will realize that we are precious in God’s sight. Life will still have its crosses, but they will not be so heavy.

You could probably give me a litany of life’s troubles – family members dying, marriages breaking, illness, financial woes and hunger. Hunger not in the need for food, but we all have unfulfilled wants and desires and dreams.

But with God at our sides, what can we not dare? Our lives will be fulfilled. We will be sustained through the tough times. We will have a secret self-reliance that others may just guess at. Faith and courage will be ours. And did I mention happiness?

To borrow from Father Brendan McGuire, of my inspiring sources, “because we believe that Jesus is there, we never feel alone; we are never trying to fight this life on our own. The sky is blue. Christ is always there. That is the truth.”

McGuire goes on to say that he would like to promise us “health, wealth and a wonderful life”, but Jesus doesn’t promise that either. If we follow Jesus, we will have a fulfilled life. We will be able to remain joy filled in spite of what happens to us.

McGuire concludes:
Jesus is the way, the truth and the life.
The truth is the sky is blue
and the truth is Jesus is the Son of God.
It changes nothing but it changes everything.
"Come, take up your cross and follow me."

(Thanks to The Word Among us July/August 2016 for thoughts on the Kadupil flower)

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