Life’s simple rule: love God, love people

Published 10:31 am Thursday, February 1, 2018

It was early spring in Georgia. The azaleas were blooming in glorious shades of pinks and corals. The dogwoods were awash in white blossoms, and the hardwood trees were born anew into living green.

My three children were all under the age of seven, and it was my day off. Every so often when they were small, I would gather a quilt and a basket to enjoy a picnic.

The sky was void of clouds and the sun was starting to warm the cool day. Our picnic spot was in a beautiful park with a lake surrounded by manicured perfection.  Swans and ducks swam as children ran and played. A lone willow tree hung over the waters edge as the wind gently swayed its branches.

Squirrels scampered, and birds flew. It was a Monet masterpiece moment on that early April day in the Georgia sunshine.

When we sat down to eat our little sandwiches, I held my son in my lap as the girls giggled trying to keep their napkins from blowing away.

“Kids, what is the most beautiful sight in the park today?” I questioned.

Amy, the oldest said, “The white swan, Mama!”

I responded, “No, not to me.”

“I know, I know!!!”shouted Heather, “It’s the flowers!”

“No, not to me,” I repeated.

“The twee, the twee!” Corey pointed to the weeping willow that he was fascinated with.

“No, son, not to me.” I whispered as he cuddled in my arms.

“What is it Mama?” the girls shouted.

“Try to remember what I am going to tell you.  You see, to me, the most beautiful sight in this park is the people. God made these gorgeous trees, flowers and animals, but his park was not complete until his final creation.  And, that was all of us.”

“You, my children, are the most beautiful sight I see in the park.”

The memory of that day has stayed deep in my heart for 40 years. If I close my eyes I can still see those adorable faces with the April breeze blowing their wispy blond hair just as it blew the wispy branches of the willow tree.

I have always loved people. From the time I was a toddler, my mother said I was never afraid to meet a stranger. People, to me, were fascinating and wonderful. I would talk to anyone and still do. Nothing much has changed.

Now, I have met some folks along my life journey that I wouldn’t care to go to dinner with, but very few.  And, there are people that have taken an evil route in life, that I hope to never meet. However, I often wonder why they became so evil? What made them turn from a small curious child into a monster? Did anyone hold them in their lap and whisper love to them?

I recall at a young age being bullied a bit.  I had a very strange reaction to bullying. I cried, I hurt, I prayed, but I never felt revenge or hate.

As I grew older and found myself hurt by a loved one or two, I decided that I would just keep loving them even though they were gone.  I know what your thinking; and, yes, I am kind of weird.

God made all of us for a reason. He loves every single person including the weird ones like me. To every person on earth He gave a simple rule: “Love me, and love others as I love you.”

Boy, if we could all follow that rule as easily as it is stated, the world would be fixed.  Right?   

We are not perfect and don’t follow rules well, but even in our imperfection we find his abiding love.

I do know that hate and resentment get us nowhere. I have learned love can hurt, but the only thing that can cure the sting of love is to love.   

When I chose to love the bully and the folks that caused my heart to break, I chose to give them to God.  In doing so, it seemed to take away my pain and gave me the two gifts that only love can bring: compassion and forgiveness.

After all these years, the bully is now my buddy.

My friends, that I am sure I have disappointed at times, are still my friends. Old loves are kept in my heart, and my children are still the most beautiful sight in the park.

My scared heart is well, and my soul is at peace because I choose to love God and his people.

Lynn Walker Gendusa is a former resident and writer who currently resides in Roswell. She can be reached at