Who can say when love starts to heal a heart?  It is surprising me still in little ways and events that happen to be able to see a glimpse of the healing power begin to rise forth.  Take yesterdays lesson from John 21 where Peter and some of the disciples are hanging out.  It is so hard to deal with the death of a friend, never mind the friend is executed by the state.  Then having to deal with these sightings:  is Jesus a ghost?  no he ate the fish in front of us.  Why did we only see him twice in the upper room?  Why did he appear fully to Mary Magdalene first?  What is going on?  Have we only gained him to loose him another way? 

Amidst all the turmoil of this Peter decides to fish.  It is so wonderful to get back to normal things when our lives are in turmoil.  When we don't understand what is happening around us the rhythm of a schedule and doing a routine bring us comfort.  Fishing is something Peter knows and even if the rest don't know it, they join the leader wishing for things to be different.  Knowing they all need comfort and sticking together.

Now is the time for healing.  Jesus comes onshore, but they don't realize its him.  "Caught any fish yet?" asks Jesus and of course the reply is no.  "Why don't you try the right side of the boat." he suggests.  Now I have known some fisher people in my life and this friendly suggestion from an onlooking stranger would be met by many comments none of which the disciples do.  Maybe its because they are so distraught, maybe its because they had a teacher who showed them that even in impossible situations the unbelievable happens, or maybe they were just too tired to argue with this stranger.  So they throw the net out and catch more fish than they can handle. 

The disciple whom Jesus loves tells Peter it has to be Jesus who is this stranger.  Rallied by the sight of his friend and teacher Peter dresses and rushes ashore to find breakfast on the beach.  Jesus tells him to bring some of his own fish from the catch to add to the already cooking fish and bread.  See when we need healing we have to bring something of ourselves.  Whether it is our tears, a connection of why from the past to what is bothering us inside, or a deeper understanding of ourselves (fear of death, fear of being alone, confronting any fear) we bring up something about us which helps in our healing.  Peter brings not only the fish, but has to go back to the boat and help haul in the catch.  Peter's fear of losing Jesus blinds him to helping his friends.  Jesus teaches, yet again, to not forget them, go back and help them bring in the catch. 

Then comes the last part, maybe the last step.  Peter has to realize something of himself and the test is in Jesus' questions.  Three times he asks Peter if he loves him and each time Peter responds that of course he loves Jesus.  By the third time Peter is hurting that there would be any doubt of this.  The doubt is not Jesus' it is Peter's.  See when Peter denied Jesus three times and then leaves so as not to witness the rest of the crucifixion there must have been doubt within Peter as to whether he loved Jesus enough to die for him.  His own fear of dying kept him away from Jesus at the time when he should have been there most.  It is hard for any of us to confront death, to find we are not in control of our own bodies, our own life quality, or own ideas for the way in which we would like to die.  So through the pain of the question Peter knows that he can suffer any hurt that might happen to him because Jesus loves, God loves him enough to support him through it. 

Peter is not alone and neither are we.  Can we allow God's love to heal us?  Even when it is painful, even through death, even through any of our fears and self-doubt  because this is a hard step to take on the path to healing.  We know the story though, we are not alone, God's love is big!