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Someone forgot to put a liner bag in the shop vacuum, and the plaster dust ended up in the air, which in turn set off the fire alarm. Usually, the fire department shows up right away, that is, when the telephone lines are connected properly. Apparently, something was wrong so I called the phone company, and a Verizon woman came. I explained to her what happened and she said it was probably a loose wire. She asked to see the main box.  She took the cover off this box that was attached to the wall and there were so many phone wires jammed in there that I thought I was looking at a bowl of spaghetti. When I saw the mess, I told her she would never find the loose connection. She said, “Oh, I will find it.” She gingerly ran her fingers through the wires and then said, “There it is.” She made the connection, smiled at me and said, “Anything else I can do for you?” I was impressed. That is what experts do. They take something that is difficult; make it look easy; then they smile.

I was inside the church for the annual Christmas concert. As I started to listen to the  Christmas carols, I felt a tap on my shoulder. A young woman was standing beside me and said: “I am really sorry to bother, but I locked myself out of the car with the engine running, do you have a coat hanger?” I worked the coat hanger into the interior of the car and aimed the point at the unlock button. The metal hanger would bend, and I would have to straighten it out. I never got it close enough to the switch. After several attempts I gave up, she called AAA.  I waited with her until help came. A guy jumped out of a truck, looked at her car and said to us, “Give me twenty seconds, and I will be inside.” I said, “No way.” He took two doorstops and wedged them into the window giving him plenty of space. He slipped two thin plastic strips with a rubber hinge and popped it open. I said to him in disbelief, “You didn’t do it in twenty seconds like you said, you did it in ten!” He just laughed. As I said, experts make very difficult jobs seem easy, and then they smile (in this case the expert laughed).

Jesus gives us the two great commandments: love God and love neighbor. Both are very difficult. It is hard to love God because he has so many rules and commandments. It is hard to love a neighbor because sometimes they are not very nice. This is what Christians do: they love God and neighbor. We are experts at doing this difficult task.

Dad and I fly fish but in the winter we can’t because of the ice, so we joined a fly-tying club that meets once a month. The first meeting we went to happened to be their 10th anniversary. They flew in a well-know fly-tier from New Jersey to give us a fly-tying demonstration. Dad and I were the first to arrive and walked over to his table. He asked me what I wanted to see and told him that I would like to see him tie his “Hollow Fly.” He reached down in his bag and grabbed some material and started to tie. As he was explaining to us the process, more members crowded around the table as they arrived. As I was standing there someone bumped into me. So I moved to give the guy some space. He bumped into me again. In fact, he did this several times. I started to think, “What is wrong with this guy; why is he always bumping into me.” I let it go. When the fly-tier finished, he handed the fly to me and said: “Keep it.” I was really happy he gave it to me because now I have a sample to copy when I tie my own. The guy who was bumping into said to me: “Could I take a look at that?” As he was admiring the fly-tier’s work I told him to keep it. He was very grateful. At that moment we were asked to take our seats so the meeting could begin. The first order of business was the presentation of the “Member of the Year” award. When the speaker announced his name the winner stood up, and we began to applaud. I thought, “That’s the guy that bumped into me.” He limped up in front of the room with his cane, and when he got to the front to receive his award, I understood why he bumped into me. He only had one leg. Needless to say, I was really happy that I was nice to him. “Love God, and love your neighbor.” It always works well. Yes. Loving God and neighbor can be very difficult. But we are Christians. This is what defines us. This is what we do. It is hard to love, but we make it look easy. Then we smile.

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