A Year of Smiles – Day 258

Reason to SMILE #258: KINDNESS

Adobe Spark

There are times in life when everything is suddenly put into perspective, when all the frivolities that consume our thoughts and our time fade away in the light of what truly matters.  I am experiencing one of those times and I’m not even sure I can convey what I am feeling to you.

After finalizing a few details with a client today, the client thanked me for the work I have done. I responded with my typical, “It was no problem, at all. I’m glad we could help.” He replied, “No, you don’t understand.” Then he began to explain all that he has endured this past year. From divorce to being homeless for more than four months, his year has been rough to say the least. “You’ve been kinder to me and done more to help me than anyone else has. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate you and everyone in your office.”

It was all I could do to keep from crying while on the phone with this man. (I’m having a pretty tough time keeping the tears from flowing as I write this now!)

After our conversation, I thought back over the past two months and all that I’ve done for this client. The odd thing is I haven’t done anything out of the ordinary.  I haven’t shown him special consideration. I’ve spoken with him like I do anyone else. I’ve taken his calls. I’ve listened to him and answered his questions as thoroughly and clearly as I could. I’ve performed the work he has engaged my office to do with as much accuracy and as timely as possible. I’ve treated him like a human being, like I would anyone else, like I would want to be treated. Yet, to this man, my actions and the way I have interacted with him have been the most kindness he’s seen in some time. It has made a difference in his life.

Wow!

I don’t know how else to react. I am humbled. I am grateful that I was able to help this client. I am convicted. So many times, I see my “day job” as simply a job, a way to pay the bills. I do take pride in my work. I like to do things right! But I never look at what I do at the office as making a difference in anyone’s life. I do the work. The attorney gets the credit and that’s that. ( 😉 ) Today, I have seen that no matter the importance (or lack of importance) of my title, the only thing that matters is how I treat others, how I share the love of God in everything I do and say.

Kindness – it’s doesn’t take much effort. But any effort it may take is certainly worth it. You never know what the person behind you in the check-out line, beside you on the church pew, in front of you at the theater or on the other end of the phone is going through. Your kindness, simply treating others with decency and love, could make a world of difference in another’s life. And I know without a doubt that it will create some SMILES – for others and for you!

Advertisements

A Year of Smiles – Day 239

Reason to SMILE #239: BELIEVING THE BEST IN OTHERS

IMG_8478

I wonder how our world would look if we all believed the best in each other.

What if we looked past the rough edges and saw the potential waiting to burst forth.

What if we embraced the awkwardness and peculiarities and allowed them to broaden our horizons and enlighten our perceptions.

What if we ignored the drama and discovered an infectious spirit of energy and attraction.

What if we overlooked the gruff and callous demeanor and the offensive words and actions and focused on the hurting soul in need of love.

What if we forgave the faults we see in others, the same faults we long for others to forgive in us, and see each other as imperfect brothers and sisters doing our best in an imperfect world.

What if we stopped discarding people and embraced each other as a masterpiece of the the Great Creator, a child of God worthy to be loved, pursued, forgiven and accepted.

What if…

Believing the best in others takes practice, patience and persistence. It opens us up to heartache and disappointment but if we make the effort to see others through the eyes of Jesus, I feel certain that our world would be filled with so many more SMILES.

 

A Year of Smiles – Day 226

Reason to SMILE #226: TRUTH

My SMILE today may seem a bit unusual and may not actually feel like a SMILE at all.  As I’ve been pondering recent events in our world, I couldn’t help but be reminded of a song I wrote many years ago.  My heart aches for our children and the world we have created for them.  My only solace is the Truth of God’s Word, the promises of His plan and surety of His control.  No matter what the situation around me, the foundation of God’s Truth on which I stand brings a peaceful SMILE to my soul.

I share the following with you in hopes that you will be inspired to make a difference in the world around you and to point the way to the TRUTH.


Fires burn across the land,

The smoke fills the skies.

Angry men shout out and scream;

Some break down and cry.

 

Children watch as people die;

They see the hate, the pain.

Their little eyes can’t believe

The suffering and the shame.

 

Is this the world we want to show our children?

Is this the place we want them to call home?

We tell them that we love them but don’t show them the same.

Is this the truth we want them to know?

 

I wrote these lyrics twenty-five years ago.  I was almost eighteen years old and had just watched news coverage of the Los Angeles Riots of 1992.  I was horrified as pictures of violence, hate, fear and desperation flashed before my eyes.  I was overwhelmed with uncertainty and fear even though I lived on the opposite side of the country.  I did not understand it all and I knew there were children and other young people trying to make sense of the chaos, as well.

I wondered what these children were learning from the situation.  What lessons about life were they gleaning?  Were they giving up all hope at that moment?  Was their innocence slipping away as disturbing images of humanity at its worst invaded their ideals of safety and security?  Were they resigning to believe that this was how life was supposed to be?  Were these children accepting the hate, violence and pride as their truth?

Now, twenty-five years later, we find ourselves seeing familiar images flash on our TV screens.  And I cannot help but wonder.  Where are those children who watched similar scenes so many years ago?  They are the adults of our world now.  Are they watching in horror as they did as a child?  Are they worried about their own children and the effect this situation will have on their young lives?  Are they outraged?  Are they scared?  Are they worried?  Or are they hitting the power button, shrugging their shoulders and walking away?  After all, that’s life.  That’s the truth of our existence and there’s nothing anyone can do about it….

Oh, my friends, there is hope.  We can redefine the truth that our world accepts today by pointing the way to THE TRUTH, Jesus Christ.  He is our only Way to healing, restoration and salvation.  He is our only Truth in the midst of the chaos and deception orchestrated by our enemy, the devil.  He is our only source of abundant Life, peace, hope and yes, SMILES.

Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude.  It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth.  It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.  Love never ends.”

1 Corinthians 13:4-8a (NIV)

The road to Truth starts with Love.  Love starts with you and me.

A Year of Smiles – Day 217

Reason to SMILE #217: CONNECT THE DOTS


What draws us to certain people, groups or organizations? Why do we feel at home in particular surroundings or atmospheres? What makes us feel connected to something or someone? 

I began to ask myself these questions as I stepped back to survey the finished bulletin board at my church this afternoon. Our congregation is beginning a study on life in the church and the connection church members have through Christ, Unity, Growth, Words, Service and Prayer. I’m excited for this study and I’m anxious to get back to the basics of what it means to be a functioning part of the body of Christ. As I finished the display, however, my thoughts moved to more than just the church member but to humanity as a whole.

It’s funny that this simple Connect the Dots themed bulletin board raised so many questions about our connections with each other. But the answer to all of these pervading questions is really just as simple as this basic children’s activity. What draws us to others? What makes us feel accepted? What gives us that connection? Love. The answer is simply love.

Colossians 3:13-14 (NIV) Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

Love binds us all together. Love is the connection. And when you find that Love, you can’t help but SMILE.

A Year of Smiles – Day 199

Reason to SMILE #199: BEING DIFFERENT 

All of my life, I’ve longed to be like everyone else. I’ve wanted to fit in, to be seen as an equal to my peers. I’ve dreamed of finding a place where I could feel at home and a group of people with which I could feel comfortable. I’ve dreamed of the day when I could walk into a building, see faces light up because of my presence and hear my name shouted across the room. Wait – that’s a TV show –

“Sometimes you wanna go where everybody knows your na-a-ame”

Bum bum bum

“And they’re always glad you ca-a-ame”

Sorry. I couldn’t resist. But wouldn’t it be nice?…

Rarely do I ever feel as though I fit in. Rarely have I ever found anyone with whom I could be myself and say what I think without fear of judgment. Never do I feel comfortable in a group, no matter how large or small. Rarely do I feel accepted for me, just me.

But I’ve learned a thing or two about acceptance and fitting in along my journey in life. You see, no matter how much I long to be the same as others or fit into a particular group, I simply wasn’t made for that. Neither were you. You and I were made to be different, to stand out from the crowd and to glorify God with our uniqueness.

Yep. I’m very different. Maybe even a bit weird. That’s okay because I wasn’t made to fit. And knowing God has a specific plan for all of my quirks and peculiarities is a wonderful reason to SMILE.

A Year of Smiles – Day 122

Reason to SMILE #122: COLORS

What if all the blue crayons

In your color case

Decided all the green crayons

Were simply a big waste?

 

“You’re too green,” they might say.

“You’re not like us at all.

We don’t need your kind around.

Get out!” they’d say with gall.

 

Pushing the green crayons out

Of the color box,

The blues would then settle in

Their spacious, comfy spots.

 

“Ah!” the blues would then proclaim.

“This extra room is nice

But the reds might say it’s theirs

And that will not suffice.”

 

The crayons blue would soon begin

To push the reds out, too,

Along with every other shade

Til all was left was blue.

 

“Oh, what freedom! We’ve so much space,”

The blues would then shout.

Now, we can color everything.

Our hue’s the best, no doubt.”

 

Upon this declaration,

The crayons blue would jump

From their box to color the world –

Ev’ry rock, ev’ry road, ev’ry bump.

 

They’d first begin with the sky.

Oh, what wonderful hues!

They’d paint the sky almost as bright

As God himself would do.

 

Dark blue, light blue, gray blue, teal-

Endless shades there’d be!

Blue cars, blue pants, blue, blue, blue

As far as one could see.

 

Then stepping back to survey

All that they had colored,

These lofty blues would be pleased.

They didn’t need the others.

 

Somewhere, then, I’d like to think,

From in the crayon box,

An old and used up blue crayon

Would climb up to the top.

 

“Hey!” he’d shout. “What about

The sun, the grass and flowers?

The wondrous beauty of these can’t

Be captured by mere blue power.

 

“Yes,” another blue would chime,

“How shall we color these?

The sun is not a shade of blue

Nor is the grass or trees.”

 

“We pushed out all the colors that

Could have done the job.

A brighter place this world could be

If their beauty, we did not rob.”

 

Nodding in agreement, I suspect

Each blue would slump

Knowing they had slighted the world

By being such big chumps!

 

I’m so glad God chose to use a multitude of colors to paint the world, aren’t you?  Imagine how boring and bland it would be without such a variety of colors.  Imagine how dull the world would be without such a variety of people.  And just like every color is needed to create a perfect picture of a beautiful sunset over the ocean, so also is every person needed to create a better world and to fill that world with bright and beautiful SMILES.

 

 

Image by symbols-n-emoticons.com