Pride and arrogance: By the time I was a teenager, I was full of it, and I was proud of it … and arrogant about it, too. It was how I survived. My mother, often ill, was often not available. My father, a dedicated doctor, was not dedicated to fatherhood. So, I learned to be hard, to be tough, to strike first and strike hard (no, not usually with my fists, but with words and stubbornness). I was the island that no man is supposed to be, and visitors, even loved ones, never got further ashore than the beach. 

It cost me dearly. I was isolated and alone, even in a crowd, even with a family. I think it cost others even more, as I trampled over people, trusted no one, and set out, often unknowingly, to find a way to ease the pain in my soul.

The good news: I was never really alone. There was this God, with whom I had a long and running battle and a love-hate relationship (my hate, His love). It took me decades to understand that I was in fact never alone, that He was always there, waiting and, yes, protecting me from my torrid, snarly self.

Then gradually, gradually, gradually, while God waited patiently, I learned to let Him come close. He never forced me; that’s not His way. No, He just waited and watched over me, gently guiding me. (Comparing myself to a wild animal — half afraid, half hoping – I finally, arrogantly, hesitantly submitted, and I told God: “You didn’t tame me; I let you pet me.”)

And He changed me. He melted my heart, took away my anger, helped me to open my life to others, to trust, to give and to allow myself to receive. He made me ready.

My point: That is the miracle of my life. God transformed me. But even before that, I now know that He was always with me; He was always loving me. I think that is why a banner I saw out in a Seattle church several months ago struck me like a thunderbolt. It said, “God loves you and there is ABSOLUTELY nothing you can do about it.” Oh, and it’s not just my story, but it is the story of many, many people. If it hasn’t yet been yours, just be patient; just open your heart and your mind; our loving Lord is there; he’s always been there. – jri

“Has the Lord redeemed you? Then

         speak out!

     Tell others he has redeemed you

         from your enemies.

For he has gathered the exiles from

         many lands,

     from east and west,

     from north and south.

Some wandered in the wilderness,

     lost and homeless.

Hungry and thirsty,

     they nearly died.

‘Lord, help!’ they cried in their trouble,

     and he rescued them from their


— Psalm 107:2-6

For those I’ve hurt over the years, I am truly sorry. And for the gifts I’ve been given, I am truly thankful. You see, God did not give me what I deserved. He blessed me with grace (undeserved blessings) far, far, far more than I could ever desire or imagine. Today, my life is overrun with loving, caring people, children who have accepted/forgiven me, and very special wife in Susan who loves me without question or criticism. Thank you, Lord. Thank you, family and friends.

John Ingrisano

Daily Connections

August 19, 2015

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