Saturday, February 26, 2011


"Yes, my life has meaning. And so it doesn't matter that the day began with me feeling like a nobody who just got stepped on. As it would turn out, my heart feels much differently now. Funny how just a few minutes of someone's time and a few kind words can do that to a person. "

I wrote that in my private journal just before Christmas on a day that had started out rather crappy but was brightened and given a whole new outlook thanks to my doctor taking a few minutes to speak some encouraging words. My husband and I were talking tonight about how a certain situation could have transpired much differently than it has. He asked me what I'd boil it down to. I couldn't pinpoint it yet, but he mentioned that affirmation would have made a world of difference. Affirmation in the way people spoke and acted would indeed have made all the difference. It's a shame it didn't turn out that way.

So I write here in this space and encourage anyone reading to take a moment to add in the kindness and courtesies that make sunshine in someone's life. Use the "please" and "thank you", the "I'm sorry" and the "well done" when you can. Pay attention to the tone of your spoken and written word. Even if you aren't a word person and don't spend the kind of time thinking about semantics that I do, pay attention to how your words can come across to someone not like you. If you're not a highly sensitive person and you are having to work with a highly sensitive person, don't insist that they speak your language. Try to learn a bit of theirs instead. It won't kill you. It might enrich you. When someone shares their heart, listen. When someone shares their perspective, remember that perspective is reality for that person and seek to understand. Keep a soft heart. Don't discount what someone says even if you have a different viewpoint. Even in the midst of your own exhaustion or grief or stress, take a moment to be kind to the person in front of you.

Kindness matters. It can change the world if you let it.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Thinking About the Future

Since our friend died on December 28th and our whole world changed as we had once known it, I've been doing a lot of thinking. Things like what matters most, relationships, a legacy, taking care to plan for my child in the event something happens to me before he is grown, and other things have filled my thoughts and kept me up at night. But after listening to my friend speak of Heaven and the conversations she is having with her children as they grieve the loss of their daddy, I've been thinking about it too.

The other day, I crossed the border with a friend and stopped at the bookstore to pick up a couple books for our home group. I spent a bit of time looking for this one book on Heaven that my friend had mentioned reading to her kids. While it wasn't in stock, this other book was. It's called Heaven, and it's basically an encyclopedic look at Heaven by Randy Alcorn. It is endorsed by Joni Earickson Tada, among others, so I knew it was probably pretty good. I've read other books by Alcorn and was willing to give this one a try even though it wasn't cheap. So far, it has been totally worth every penny.

He backs up each point with Scripture and explains a lot of history and where we get some of our notions about the afterlife. I'm only now realizing that a lot of what I was taught growing up came from terribly written hymns, silly Baptist school teachers who were more influenced by Plato than they would ever dream, and some other less than stellar resources. What I'm learning about Heaven now actually makes me look forward to going there.

This post totally does not do the book justice at all, but I highly recommend it to anyone whether you have a faith or not. It is fascinating, and if you are at all like me and secretly hope to live in Narnia and be friends with the Beavers one day, I think you'll like this book. I totally dream about seeing the giraffe I met at the St. Louis Zoo this fall when I get there. I hope we are neighbors. =)