Sunday, September 29, 2013

Sermon for Sunday, September 29, 2013 Jeremiah 32:1-3a, 6-15 and Luke 16:19-31 “Acts of Hope”

I love my home and my sense of belonging to a community. I love the way I’ve decorated my rooms. I love my books and pictures and the mementos of my life. I enjoy feeling settled, and as I get older, as much as I love to travel, I really love getting home again, among my things.
           My things. I’ve got a lot of things.

How about you?

Just on a whim, I started counting the number of pots and pans I have. I love to cook, as you know. I stopped counting at 20. Do I really need 20 pans? Most likely not. I could probably cook a fabulous meal with two pans, but I’ve accumulated them over the years and may need them for some particular recipe at some point, so I hang on to them, and I feel fortunate to have them.

We tend to acquire things, not always because we need them but because we want them. Sometimes we get buyer’s remorse, sometimes the things we acquire don’t get used. But every time we acquire something, we are making a symbolic gesture. We are saying something in the acquisition an act of hope, if you will. It might be that I buy a particular piece of cooking equipment because I believe I’m going to prepare something that requires it. Like the nifty ice cream maker I bought. Haven’t made any ice cream in it yet, but I will. Someday! I might buy a particular article of clothing even though I can’t quite fit into it right now, because I believe I WILL fit into that article of clothing soon. Soon, I tell you! Don’t laugh!

We get things, whether we need them or simply want them, because they are symbols to us of our future activity. They are acts of hope.

And that leads me to think about why Jeremiah, in our old testament reading this morning, acquires a piece of land. It is admittedly an odd purchase, given Jeremiah’s circumstances.

In this point in Jeremiah’s story, Israel is being crushed by the Babylonians. Jeremiah is actually under house arrest in the court of the King of Judah. It is a time of war and of hopelessness.

And in the midst of this Jeremiah receives a divine message and acts in response to it. Jeremiah’s cousin comes to him while Jeremiah is under house arrest and offers to sell him a piece of land.

Let me remind you: Jeremiah is under arrest. The country is in a state of war. And Jeremiah buys a piece of land.

It makes no sense…unless it is a sign of something.

Prophets, after all, are all about signs of things to come. It’s part of the job description.

So what might the acquisition of a field mean? What kind of sign is a land transaction in the midst of war?

Maybe it is an act of hope. After all, why would you buy a piece of land unless you believed that at some time in the future you would be able to grow something on it without worrying about soldiers trampling it or taking all the things you grow on it? That wouldn’t happen unless there was peace. Buying a piece of property in the midst of war – a crazy thing, right? Unless it is a sign that God will eventually give the Israelites relief from war.  Unless it is a sign that better days are coming soon. Unless it is an act of hope.

Out in Colorado folks are recovering from the heavy rains and mudslides that have devastated the area around Boulder. We had a young man from Colorado visiting us this week, a friend of my daughter’s, on his way to New York. All of his goods were packed in his van, bicycle strapped to the back, and he is making a move. I asked him if the problems in Colorado  caused him to decide to move. “No,” he said. “I was planning this all along. I had known that I was heading east, so I made sure my stuff was in a safe place, so that when the weather let up, I could head out.”

He was hopeful. He knew something better was coming, and he prepared himself. He stored his goods – his stuff – and he got the van ready, and when the time was right, he got on the road.

Jeremiah did the same thing. In the midst of the awfulness of the war with Babylon, he did something counter-intuitive. He didn’t just hunker down. At God’s instruction, he prepared for a hopeful future, the hopeful future that God promises us all. Jeremiah bought that land because God said “Houses and fields and vineyards shall again be bought in this land.” If you have any doubt that God, and Jeremiah, are talking about long-term peace, remember that word “Vineyard.” Vineyards take years to yield. This is not a short term land-flip. It’s a long term investment, which means long-term peace.

How does this translate for us, here in Lakeside in the autumn on 2013? Is God saying “go buy a piece of land?” For some of us, that may be true.

But the larger answer to this question may be that we are expected to be a hopeful people, and the things that we do, whether it is buying a piece of land or a pair of jeans a size smaller than the one we currently wear, are all signs of how much hope we have that God will care for us.

On the face of it, talking about buying something as a hopeful sign seems to be the exact opposite of what is happening in the Gospel, where the rich man who is so cruel and unhelpful to poor Lazarus gets punished for not caring for the beggar during life.

Is Jeremiah saying “amass wealth as a wise investment because God will take care of you?” Is Luke’s gospel saying “if you’re rich, give to the poor or else you’ll go to hell?” The short answer is yes and no.

God’s message through Jeremiah is not about getting stuff per se. It’s about God helping those who have been suffering – the people of Israel. The purchase of the land is merely the symbol of God’s promise of hope for the future.

God’s message through Christ in the Gospel of Luke is not about giving away stuff per se. It’s about God saying we have an obligation to offer the very same promise of hope spoken of in Jeremiah, in practical help to those who have no hope.

If you are under siege, God says there will be better times, so prepare for those better times. If you are hungry, God says that God’s people should share with you, that you will not be left without succor at the gate.

It’s not about buying or selling things. It’s about what those things represent. Are you buying for yourself or in hope for all in the future? Are you selling to “cash out” and keep the proceeds or are you planning on sharing those proceeds with those who need a hand?

What is your hope for the future? What are the signs in your life that represent that hope, not only for you, but for those who most need hope?

Let us pray for hope.

Gracious God, you have promised every blessing, even heaven itself, through Jesus Christ. We rely on your infinite power, goodness, and mercy, and on your sacred promises, to which you are always faithful. We are confident that you are always with us, always helping us, always giving us grace to serve you faithfully in this life, by doing the good works you have commanded. With your assistance, we will do those good works, helping your people as we are able, being shining lights in this community and in the world. We pray this through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Eureka Moment

Some of you know that I am adopted. My relationship with my mother was loving but complicated, because she was an angry, hurting person. I never felt like I achieved what she expected of me. She reinforced those feelings with comments like the infamous "your father always told me you would break my heart."

My life has been an effort to measure up to some standard, and I usually feel like I haven't quite made the mark. On my darkest days, I feel like a failure or a fraud. Paradoxically,  I work really hard to present. myself as a competent and confident person.

Building that kind of impenetrable brick facade is hard work and requires a lot of maintenance.

But my desire at this stage of my life to be more authentically myself means that I have to deconstruct the wall, brick by brick. An equally difficult task, particularly 60 years in.

Every now and again, though, there is a "eureka!" moment where something makes sense that helps with the deconstruction.

It has to do with my mother, me, and my parishioners.

To understand the moment, you need to know that my mother was an angry woman for a reason. She had been treated very badly by her own mother, who used words like a knife to diminish her and make her feel bad about herself. Her own feelings of inadequacy and shame were reinforced by a failed engagement, marriage to an alcoholic who had what we might now see as PTSD as a result of his experiences in World War II, and infertility.

She and my father adopted me after several years of trying. They did their best, providing me with a home, as much in the way of material things that they could manage (they were lower middle class and his drinking used up much of his pay), raising me in the Catholic faith and putting me through Catholic schools.

But whatever I did - and I was an above-average student - my mother seemed disappointed in me.

The clue to what was going on was something she said late in life, but I only connected the dots recently: "If your coming couldn't stop your father drinking, nothing could."

Hmm, a four month old baby was expected to heal a nightmare-tormented veteran  of his drinking problem?

In a conversation with my spiritual director, the dots turned into a line...

Perhaps my mother was angry because she was a hurting broken woman whose own mother was a harridan. Perhaps she thought that having a baby would heal her broken heart with a fresh love. Perhaps she started to realize that the baby she adopted was not healing her. The baby turned child turned teen turned adult had her own hurts and challenges. It was not possible for her to heal her mother by being perfect, or approximating perfection. Every time I didn't get an A, I wounded her. Every time I told a lie, or stole a piece of candy from the neighborhood store, or married someone she didn't like, I wounded her. Or so she thought, and thus so I thought.

I couldn't fix my mother, and she was grieving that. But I didn't know. All I knew in the moment was that I could never satisfy her. 

Toward the end of her life, I had let go of the need to prove myself to her, at least on some level, because it was too exhausting. I simply agreed with whatever she said, the path of least resistance. Was it false? Of course, but I had constructed a false facade for the rest of my existence (the marriage is perfect/the kids are perfect/my work is perfect), so what was one more falsehood?

What I didn't realize then, and what I have just admitted to myself was this: I couldn't fix her pain in her soul, any more than I could fix her congestive heart failure or broken hip. I had moved to the false facade because it was easier to pretend that I could heal her via my so-called perfection than to admit that I had failed to heal her soul.

But it wasn't mine to heal. It was already broken by the time I came on the scene. Only she could heal herself, with God's help, and she couldn't find her way to that healing despite her deep faith.

So if I didn't need to heal her, what does this mean to me and my life and my work?

What if I cannot heal someone who comes to me for help?

What if I cannot do everything perfectly as a priest?

What if I cannot fix everything and everyone that is broken?

What if our stewardship campaign does not make the numbers we need?

What if the new program we try flops?

What if a parishioner leaves in a huff?

Maybe the eureka moment is this: isn't it sort of a relief to admit that I cannot forestall or fix all the problems, that it is something I leave to God?

If I couldn't heal my mother, if I cannot help everyone who needs my help, if I fail in ministry in some way...

if I do my best, God says that is enough.
if I do it with love and faith, that is enough.

The brickwork may be cracked and partially demolished as this deconstruction continues (pardon our mess!) You may be able to see a sag in the porch roof. The facade isn't necessary, because the only one with the right to measure my relative success or failure already knows all about me, inside and out (see Psalm 139).

Will I stop trying to look good in the eyes of others? Probably not - I've been doing it for a long time and old habits are hard to break - but perhaps my idea of what is success is shifting ever so slightly. Perhaps who I am is precisely who God made me to be. Not someone who can fix everything and everybody, since that's above my pay grade, but someone with gifts and weaknesses who has some work to do.

So I pray I can claim my true self, the gifts God has given me, the skills I have developed, the weaknesses that continue to frustrate me, the limitations that, well, limit what I can accomplish.

I am what I am. My mother was what she was, and I was not meant to fix her. My parish and my parishioners are what they are, and I can only do some of what they may need, but that something is enough. is enough.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Sermon for Sunday, September 22, 2013 Holy Baptism 1 Timothy 2:1-7 “Priorities”

This morning, in a few minutes, we will baptize a beautiful little girl, PB. She is only five months  old, sweet and precious, and we cannot look at her without imagining what the future holds for her. What kind of world she has come into?

What kind of world, indeed.

It has been a painful week for the news. Proof of the use of chemical weapons against Syrian women and children. A mentally ill man shooting people at the Washington Navy Yard, resulting in a dozen deaths. Record rainfalls and mudslides in Colorado. Train collisions. Fires. Violent crime.

Are you frightened yet? You should be. But as bad as this week has been, it is not unique. Bad things happen around us, and have been happening around us since the beginning of time. If you don’t believe it, remember the story of Cain and Abel.

What kind of world awaits this little girl? It certainly feels like it isn’t a good world.

And yet her parents chose to bring a child into this world, and we are all happy about that.

Is something wrong with us that we take that kind of risk? Should we abstain from having children, since we worry that we cannot protect them from all the bad things we hear about every day?

It’s a fair question, but you and I both know that we will continue to bring children into the world. We have hope that the world will be good to them, that we can protect them, that we can do things that change the world so that it is a safer, better place. We think, too,  that their presence in the world (despite evidence to the contrary on Dr Phil and Keeping Up with the Kardashians) will in fact make the world better.

And so we have children. And what do we do when we have them. For many of us, we recognize that our children may be the result of our own biological urges, but they are not mere biology, they are a gift. A gift from God, the creator who made us all.

We bring children to God in the sacrament of baptism to dedicate them to God, to make promises that we will make sure they know who God is and what God gives to us and expects from us. We pray for God’s protection for children, as Paul does in the Letter to Timothy, saying “that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and dignity.” But notice what Paul does in the letter. His prayer is offered for “for everyone, for kings and all who are in high positions.” Paul knows that what is going on in the world affects those who live in the world, and if God is working to guide the leaders who have secular power, it will have a good effect on the everyday people who simply want to lead a quiet and peaceable life.

We can see the effect on everyday people when the kings and leaders don’t hear God – we have the world that we live in today, where bad things are happening. They act like the dishonest manager, who worries more about preserving his own position than about those under his care.

And so we pray for those leaders, but we also pray for those who are subject to their leadership, so that they may know a better way.

That’s really what baptism is about: learning about the better way, the way that Christ taught us, where the priorities aren’t about who’s in power and who has the most, but about who is cared for, who is safe, who can live a peaceable life.

And so we baptize this child as a child of the light, a child who will follow Jesus. We baptize her because she is the embodiment of the hope of what the world might be, a better world, one in which the ground rules are set by God, not by secular kings and presidents. We baptize her because we trust in God, in whom we can always trust, in whom we always find love. Bless her. Bless kings. Bless leaders. Bless us, that we might teach her as we should, to know priorities that are God’s, not the worlds. Bless us all.

It’s a complex and sometimes frightening world for grownups and for children and for babies, too. Why wouldn’t we pray for God’s blessing to help us in the midst of it, and for the hope for the future? Why indeed?


Friday, September 20, 2013

Friday Five: If It Ain't Broke...

It's been eons since I've played a Friday Five, those great little memes that my friends as RevGalBlogPals do each week. Martha has offered this prompt: please name five things in your life that need no improvement.

1) My husband: My husband of 16 years is a gem, beyond improvement. My earlier choices in men were less stellar. At least I'm educable...and he is patient and adores me.

2) My job: I'm blessed to serve a wonderful parish that has brought out the possibilities in my gifts in a way that I never could have anticipated. Will I stay here forever? I don't know. God has a sense of humor, so who knows? But for now, it is perfect, and I am grateful for the call.

3) The. Perfect. Chocolate. Chip. Cookie. Recipe.

4) The grandchildren, whom I love unconditionally, in a way that I could not love their parents. I feel no need or obligation to improve my grandchildren, not because they have nothing to improve, but because I like 'em just fine in all their quirky individuality. So in my mind, they need no improvement.

5) My clergy colleague group. My safe place to bring concerns, fears, anger, joys, and share them without judgment. I pray it functions that way for the rest of the group - I think that's so.

Feel free to play yourself, and do let folks at RevGals know if you do!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Sermon for Sunday, September 15, 2013 Jeremiah 4:11-12, 22-28, Luke 15:1-10 “Lost and Found”

We were talking in Book Group the other day about adoption – it’s a subject I know something about, since I myself am adopted. Some of the group wondered about how I felt about being adopted. Their question were ones that are often posed to those of us who are adopted. Did I long to know more about my birth parents? Did I ever search for them, as the writer of the book we are reading had done? My answers were pretty simple. I always knew that I was adopted, and that I was cherished by my adoptive parents. I was chosen, rather than a product of a random act of reproduction. I was, in fact, found.

That word found is an important one as we sit together today in this place, because the readings really swirl around the idea of “lost and found.” In Jeremiah, the people have lost their concept of their creator and seemingly cannot find their way back to him. In the Gospel, once again we have someone who is lost and must be found.

Are we lost? Are we found?

I’d contend that we are a little of both.

In my own adoption story, my birth mother gave me up. She could not take care of me as a single mother in the 1950s. My adoptive parents, who had struggled for years unsuccessfully to have a child of their own, wanted a child desperately. I was lost, then I was found, and thank God for that. I never felt the need to go find my birth parents. But many years later, I needed to find out some medical history, and I reached out to the adoption agency that placed me. The social worker wanted to know why I wanted to contact my birth mother. Just medical history, I said. I had no need for another mother – the one who raised me was plenty enough. If she wanted to talk or correspond, though, I would welcome it. And so the social worker got in touch with my birth mother, and I found myself wondering what would happen if indeed she wanted contact with me. Would she expect me to treat her as my mother? Would she want me to support her? What were my obligations, and what would she be like? Eventually, the social worker got back to me. No family history relating to the medical issue I asked about. No family medical history information at all, and the birth mother did not want any contact. I was vaguely disappointed – in a way it felt like she was handing me off again, as she had many years ago. The social worker suggested I write a letter to my birth mother to put in the file, in case she changed her mind. I did that, but never heard anything more. I presume she is dead, since she would be almost 100 by now. But the social worker did an interesting thing. She sent me some notes about the circumstances of my birth and some information about my birth parents. Not names, of course, since I was adopted in the time of closed adoptions. But I found out a lot that was helpful to me in the sense that I started to know a little about my heritage. What I found in that sharing of information was a bit of what I had lost, and didn’t even know that I had been missing.

That’s one of the markers of losing things. I don’t know about you, but I usually don’t even realize they’re missing until something happens that calls attention to the fact of the loss. I don’t know that I’ve misplaced the car keys until I head out the door and can’t find them in my purse. I don’t know that I’ve lost my cellphone until I remember I need to call someone. Does it work that way for you, too?

In the same way, we don’t realize we’ve lost our connection to God – that it has slipped away somehow because of distraction or neglect – until we need God, and we wonder where He’s gone to. In point of fact, it isn’t God who is lost and in need of finding. It’s us.

God is always there. In truth, he usually is the one who keeps looking for us, whispering in our ears, “hey, remember me?”

Now there are times when we are not really lost: we are hiding from God, just as Adam and Eve did in the Garden of Eden when they did a bad thing and were ashamed. We have turned away because we have done something, or have not done something, and we think that if we just act like ostriches and stick our heads in the sand, God won’t see the rest of us wiggling around in the air. We might hide. We might think that God can’t find us. But he can, and does. So it is, perhaps more like being aware that he is there than it is wondering about whether we can find him or he can find us.

In the parable, Jesus talks about the persistence and even the foolishness of a shepherd being so concerned for one of his lost sheep that he leaves the rest of the flock to go find the one gone astray. This shepherd doesn’t say, “Boy, that’s one idiotic sheep! Let him go find his own way home if he’s so stupid he got himself lost.” He may be thinking about it, but he loves that dumb sheep enough to go looking. That’s what God does when we wander. We’re busy saying “Where’s God?” when it is us who have wandered. We’re going looking in all sorts of ridiculous places when he is not only looking for us, he has already found us. We’re the ones who are hiding from him, and that’s just foolish.

Remember the Psalm from last week, Psalm 139? The Psalmist says “O Lord, you have searched me and known me. You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from far away. You search out my path and my lying down, and are acquainted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue, O Lord, you know it completely.”

If the Lord already knows us completely, even when we do things that are contrary to his will, even when we are like the Israelites in the passage from Jeremiah, where the Lord says “my people are foolish, they do not know me; they are stupid children, they have no understanding,” even when we forget his love, God loves us and seeks us out. He knows us, and still loves us in all our flawed selves. And that’s why he keeps looking for us, reaching out for us when we aren’t reaching out for him. He desires to be in relationship with us. In modern language, he wants to hang out with us, to be viewed as one who loves us, not as a distant and unknowable judge. That’s why he sent us Jesus, to help us know him as intimately and as concretely as he knows us.

Will we be perfect followers of Jesus? Most likely not. We will try and will occasionally fail. We will be embarrassed when we realize how imperfect we are, and will try to fail. But the God who made us loves us so much that he will not let us hide. He will insist on finding us wherever we have wandered. He draws us in and says “why did you run away? I want you here by me.” He heals our broken hearts and redeems our sins. No need to feel lost. We are already found.


Sunday, September 08, 2013

Sermon for Sunday, September 8, 2013 Philemon 1-21, Luke 14:25-33 “Because of Love”

It’s a rare thing that we read an entire Epistle on a given Sunday, but that is exactly what we do this morning, in this reading that is the entire letter of the apostle Paul to Philemon. It’s an odd letter. Philemon is a friend and a fellow worker in bringing the Word of God to people. He has a house church in Colossae. Paul starts out by saying all sorts of complimentary things to Philemon, what Martin Luther called “holy flattery,” and then…

…and then, as you might guess with such a flowery start to the letter, he has a wee little request to make.

You need to know a couple of things before we go any further.

First, Paul is an old man when he writes this letter.

Second, he is writing this letter from prison.

Imagine a beat up old guy, who has been worn down by his labors and his travels, now –once again – tossed into jail by saying the wrong thing (BOLDLY) to the wrong people (BOLDLY). Scholars disagree as to whether he is imprisoned in Rome or Ephesus, but everyone agrees that he is in jail. And suddenly, while he is sitting there in his jail cell, someone shows up and says “Paul, I’m here to help you.”

This is surprising on two levels. First of all, it is Philemon’s servant, Onesimus. He is a slave. Did Philemon send him? No, he ran away.

Second of all, he is offering to make himself useful to Paul. That’s what Onesimus’ name means: “useful,” but in fact Paul mentions the fact that Onesimus has something of a reputation of being utterly useless.

Now remember, Paul is an old man, sort of tired and beat up. It would be a lovely thing if he had someone who could go get him things that would be a comfort to him while he was in jail. But he also knows that Onesimus has run away from Philemon.

Paul has a choice to make: keep Onesimus with him, because he could use someone to help him, or send him back to his most-likely angry master.

Now, once again, let’s take a little break from the story for some digging about Onesimus.

Traditionally, this is viewed as Paul sending a runaway slave back to his owner, and it was a passage in Scripture that was used for centuries as an endorsement of slavery, right up through the Civil War, but it’s a little more complicated than that.

Paul calls Onesimus a slave, but it is not entirely clear from the words of the text whether he is still a slave and a runaway, in which case Paul would be obliged by Roman law to return him, or whether he has been released by Philemon because he is so useless and somehow he has turned up at Paul’s jail cell door.  Some of the early church fathers like Origen don’t speak at all about whether Onesimus was a slave or not. They don’t view it as a critical part of the story, and many modern scholars don’t, either.

That’s because when Paul writes to Philemon, he doesn’t say, “I’m sending your fugitive slave back to you according to Roman law.” No, he says something like “It sounds like you and Onesimus weren’t treating each other like Christians should. I’m sending him back so that you two can reconcile and so that you and he might be beloved brothers. If he owes you anything, I’ll pay it. Just be reconciled. I am asking this on the basis of love.”

On the basis of love. Not justice. Not economics. Not legality. Simply love. This from this old man in a jail cell who could really use a hand, but who sees reconciliation as more important than his temporal needs.

How do we get to the place where we put reconciliation on the basis of love in front of justice or economic benefit or following the conventional rules?

Jesus does it all the time. He does it once again, in a startling bit of preaching, in today’s gospel. He says “Whoever comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and even life itself, cannot be my disciple… none of you can become my disciple if you do not give up all your possessions."

On the face of it, this doesn’t sound like reconciliation on the basis of love, all this talk of hate. But let’s think a little deeper. What Jesus is challenging the crowd to do, just as Paul is challenging Philemon to do, is to step away from the conventional rules, the status quo. He is saying “let go of loyalty to family or tribe, let go of the desire to be judged successful in the world’s terms, let go of the desire for money and possessions. Let go of all of that if you want to follow me.” What happens when Jesus’ followers do that? The world doesn’t understand, but it frees Jesus’ followers to see everyone, not just their biological kin, as their fathers and mothers and brothers and sisters. Everyone is equally valuable, and therefore worthy of reconciliation after the battles of the past. If Philemon can see Onesimus as a brother in Christ, in love, rather than a useless bothersome guy who ran away, reconciliation can happen. If the nameless follower of Jesus in that crowd can see the nasty neighbor who wronged his father in a land transaction as a brother in Christ, in love, reconciliation can happen.

Paul echoes Jesus: relationship is not a mere matter of biological connection, it is about being a part of the Body of Christ together.

Easier said than done, you say. Do the victims of Bernie Madoff’s financial malfeasance have to love him as a brother? It’s hard, but yes, even as they hate his deeds. Does the brother of a soldier killed in Helmand have to love the maker of the IED that caused his death? It’s hard, but yes, even as he curses the war and the actions of that man. Otherwise, we are lost forever in a spiral of identifying someone as bad and us as good, even as others do the same thing to us.

Paul asks Philemon to do a hard thing – to reconcile with someone who wronged him in some way. It is hard for Onesimus, too. He has got to be frightened about what will happen when he returns to Colossae, bearing this letter.

Jesus asks us to do a hard thing in the same way. We are to see everyone as beloved to us as our own precious family, and to forgive them with the same grace as we would offer to our own mother or father or sister or brother or child.

Do we know what happened in the end when Onesimus returned? No, we hear nothing further. But I hope Philemon embraces him. I hope they forgive each other whatever is necessary to forgive. Not because Paul commanded it, because he did not. Not because the law was satisfied, because it was not. Not because it made economic sense, because it did not. Simply because of love.