“And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow–not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below–indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39, NLT)
When I was a young boy my favorite toy was a BB gun. It was shaped like an old fashionedWinchester lever action rifle. When I had it in my hands I suddenly became all the heros of theWestern movies that I watched. I was John Wayne riding to the rescue, fighting off train robbersalong the empty train tracks that ran next to our yard. Occasionally I would shoot BB’s fortarget practice but most of the time I just pretended to be a cowboy with it.
One day I walked into the house carrying my gun in my hand. I was imitating a John Waynemovie where he swung the rifle by its lever and shot it with one hand. As I did so, however, Iheard a pop. I hadn’t totally cleaned the BB’s out of the gun when I was shooting it the daybefore. I watched in terror as the BB parted the hair of my Dad who was snoozing on the couch.A half an inch lower and it would have shot him in the head. My Dad woke up instantly andsaw what happened. With a lot of anger and cursing he grabbed my BB gun, walked out to therailroad tracks and smashed it on the rails. I wouldn’t have another BB gun for a long time afterthat and when I did I refused to put BB’s in it.
What bothered me the most, though, was seeing the anger in my Dad’s eyes. I hid in my roomfor the rest of the day not wanting to face him. I was afraid he didn’t love me anymore. Atdinnertime he finally walked into the room and put his hand on my head. “It’s ok, Joey”, he said. “I forgive you. Now come and eat.” I felt so relieved and joyful at that moment. I felt safe,happy, and loved once again.
In the years that followed I would disappoint my Dad more than once. I would also disappointmy Heavenly Father time and time again. I was a slow learner and suffered the consequences ofmy own actions. I hurt myself and others. I cried and struggled and grieved. Yet, through it all Ialways felt loved. No matter how many times I messed up I knew that God loved me and forgaveme. I knew too that He was helping me to become better, kinder, and more loving. I just had todo my part.
God loves us all so much. His love is unconditional. He forgives our mistakes, failures, andbad choices. He guides us along the path of love and helps us to become the people we weremeant to be. He helps us to find the light and love that lies deep within our own souls. Whateveryou go through in this life then remember, you are loved! Remember, you can love! Remember,YOU ARE LOVE!
Joseph J. Mazzella