Feeling Special

Feeling Special

by Carolyn Brashear

Most of us can recall a moment or two when someone has done or said something that has made us feel special.  On the other hand, can you recall a moment or two when you have made someone else feel special?

Much of our lives are based on feelings.  They may be real or perceived.  They come and they go.  They may not last long, but when recalled, remind us of a person or event that goes along with them.  They may bring frustration or sorrow, doubt or assurance, peace or joy, and a host of other emotions.  Feelings can reveal to what or whom we are drawn, whether our focus is on ourselves or others, and what we consider to be most significant.

On the last weekend of March of last year, my niece (Sarah) and nephew-in-law-to-be (Zach – her fiance), were married in Ohio.  Due to COVID-19 regulations, their large wedding was reduced from 150+ guests to 10 and I was unable to attend.

Prior to that time, my first meeting with Zach was during Christmas in  2019.  After that time, I saw him again at Christmas in 2020.  Zach seemed like a very attentive young man, and I realized that this was even more so at Christmas 2020.

I was sitting alone on the small sofa in the side wing of my mom’s kitchen and dining area.  Zach and Sarah (with their backs to me) along with my sister and her husband and my mom were sitting at the dining table.

During our conversations, Zach reached down and pulled out a small book and started to tell us about it.  A while back, he had been to an antique mall.  He came across some books at one of the vendors there.  As he held the book where we could see it, he said he had picked it up and flipped through it.  It obviously caught his attention more than the others.  He looked at it for a while, then put it back with the others, and went on to other vendors.  As he went through the mall, he kept thinking about that book.  Before he left the mall, he decided that he would go back and buy that book, and he did.

I don’t think he had in mind any particular person to whom he would give it, but he told us that because he knew our family had grown up in the Methodist church, he said he thought that just maybe one of us would be interested in it.  I was crocheting as I was sitting there and had been listening to his story about the book, but when he mentioned Methodist church, he turned and looked at me and he had my attention even more.  I put down the yarn and needles, and he handed me the book.

I didn’t know the treasure (or at least what I consider to be a treasure) that I was about to hold in my hands.  The hard back cover was a little worn, but the book was solid and intact.  It was only 4”x6” in size, but it measured 1.5” in thickness.  On the spine was its title “Methodist Hymnal with Ritual”.

On the title page it was written that it was published in 1878 which makes it 142 years old.  On May 30, 1876, the General Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church (which met in Cleveland, Ohio that year) authorized a revision of their current hymnal and this book was the result.

If you know the first hymn of our current hymnal, then you’ll know the first hymn of this 1878 copy.  It contains 1,117 hymns all without music, just the lyrics, plus doxologies, and the ritual for baptisms, reception of members, and the Lord’s Supper.  I sat there and spent thirty minutes or more going through it and have looked at it numerous times since.  I have only had the opportunity to show it to a few folks.

I know that for many people would not see this item as a treasure.  And then I got to thinking, the real treasure is not in the item itself.  The book represents what I perceive to be a treasure, real treasure.  If we look up Matthew 6:21, we read: “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

The real treasure was not the book, but the heart of my niece’s husband.  Not only was he attentive to her, but to her family.  He considered what might be of interest, even importance to them, and in the process he may not have even realized that his thoughtfulness and action made someone feel special.  He paid enough attention to consider what someone else might appreciate, and realizing that, it gave rise to the feeling of being special.

Seems to me that this is one of the things that Jesus did.  People came to him for various reasons – to be fed, to be healed, to hear His teachings, to touch Him, to be near to Him, etc.  Many of them probably did not realize how special they were to Him.  He came to earth for them, and for you, and for me.  While I question my own unworthiness at times, and wonder how He could love me, He still came to say “you are special” – you are a “child of the Father, the one true living God.”  Jesus is so attentive that even though He knows everything about me, He still loves me like no other person ever could and His love makes me special, one of His beloved.  It doesn’t make me perfect, and I am so thankful He loves me in spite of my imperfections.

So, what do we need to ask ourselves?  For me, it is “to whom do I need to be attentive”?  As Jesus offered Himself to us, to whom do we need to offer ourselves?  Do I understand what it is that makes another person feel special, feel loved? 

I pray that we take time to reflect on how Jesus makes us feel.  May we receive His love and experience feeling special in the way that His love intends, knowing that He gave His life for you and for me.  But, may we also look beyond ourselves to others, being in the “present” with them so that we are attentive to them, in the hope that they too will in some way feel special as well. Beloved, let us love one another.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.