Author Ruth Smith Meyer

Ruth Smith Meyer Inspirational writer, speaker

Thinking out Loud on my Blog

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Reevaluating the State of Affairs

Posted by ruthsmithmeyer-com on January 30, 2017 at 10:30 AM Comments comments (0)

Ever since last January when my second husband skipped off to heaven, there’s been a sneaky specter hanging about. It doesn’t actually let me have a good look at it, but it keeps gleefully whispering, “You’re getting old!”

My body gets in on the taunting disparagement. My blood sugars become unpredictable. My hip gets bursitis, making me begin to waddle like an old___ --No, no, it’s just my hip! It can’t be because I’m old! My doctor, as though I’m going to need it for the rest of my life, sets up an appointment with a specialist to make sure the walker that I’m using is right for me, and when asked about a dark spot that has appeared on my hand blithely tells me, “Oh you’re just getting rusty from old age!”

What? Me old?

“Yeah? You’re next!” is the murmur from that ghostly shadow. “After all, how many years can you have left?”


                       Then in August, my second last baby turns 50! The nerve! That’s just about five years younger than I feel on the inside, but facts are facts. I must have been older than five when she was born.

That evening is however, the impetus for some reflection during the quiet moments of night. At first I want to fight back. On further contemplation I decide to face that specter, make friends with it and walk along in companionship. Yes, I am getting older, but that doesn’t mean I have to succumb in docile or compliant surrender and sit back waiting to die! If I can’t skip along the way, I can walk briskly—give that menacing apparition a run for his/her money!

I ask the doctor for referral to a physiotherapist and begin a twice daily exercise regimen. My hip drastically improves. I renew my commitment to my quiet time that has been disrupted the changes in my life and I realize that God loves me and has plans for me right where I am in life. I begin to dream of other things to write about. I work on incorporating a regular painting day to

nurture another part of my creativity. I make plans to pay regular visits to my wonderful, enlarged family who also foster my inner spirit. I even toy with the idea of using duolingo to learn a new language. I’ll first renew my acquaintance with German then try to enlarge my knowledge of French—something I always thought I’d do sometime in my life. I’ll do as my grandfather said—wear out instead of rust out—in spite of dark areas on my hands!

Eventually, when the good Lord is ready for me, I too, will sprint off to heaven, but meantime I’ll stay busy with the delights that he provides here on earth. 

.

 

Transforming Fog

Posted by ruthsmithmeyer-com on January 17, 2017 at 3:35 PM Comments comments (0)

This is something I wrote about a year ago, soon after Paul's death.  I share it with you now.




This morning the world was shrouded in a dense fog. The snow and frigid temperatures that heralded the coming of March gave the impression of pulling the blanket up around its ears trying to ignore the warmer climate that was about to bring the demise of winter.

An hour or so later, when I drove out of the garage, the atmosphere was transformed once more. The sun shone in a blue, blue sky. Against that azure back-drop, each branch, to the smallest twig was clothed in crystal white creating a fairyland of ethereal beauty. I wished I had started a half hour early and brought my camera to capture the magnificent splendor, for by the time church had hardly more than started the breath-taking splendor was gone.

Right now, at this period in my life, when I am finding my way to a new kind of life, because of the new reality of a second time of widowhood, I often feel as literally in the fog as the world was this morning. I remembered a poem I wrote when my first husband died.


Return, Oh Spring!

Song of my heart after Norman’s death.


The morning dawns,

my consciousness aroused, realizes its arrival

is cloudy, damp and cold.

My eyelids open slowly;

I pull the covers ‘round.

It seems the clime

has my heart

firmly in its hold.

 

Bleak February days

find echo in my heart.

-Where are the sunshine,

warmth and loving grace,

the shape and meaning,

hopes and dreams,

the touch,

the feel,

and sight

of my dear one’s face?

 

Oh come,

warmth and touch

of Eternal Spring,

melt grief’s ice and snow,

disperse winter’s chill,

and in the warming trickle

of the certain thaw,

soak the earth of promise

that lies beneath it still;

awaken slumbering seeds

and initiate new growth

of love and life,

in altered and innovative cast.

 

Emerging from the earth,

facing toward the sun,

may hopes

and dreams

return to me at last.



 

 

Six years later I added a few verses when Paul came into my life.

 

‘Twas my earnest prayer

that February morn

when Spring seemed

loathe to come.

But slowly my heart

to resignation did succumb

to reality—life so different,

life alone,

to face the great unknown.

But life so new

and foreign now

still seemed the weight of stone.

 

Then blew Eternal Spring

And moved your heart to call

To melt my sadness,

Dispel my grief’s dark pall.

And in the warming stream

of your amazing love,

you soaked the arid places

that I’d been conscious of;

awakened slumbering seeds

and initiated new growth

of love and life,

in altered and innovative cast.

And I emerged from earth,

My face glowed in the sun,

New hopes arose,

Dreams came true,

My heart felt at home again--

at home in your love,

at home at last.


 

Now I face another time of grief. Although there are moments when I’d like to draw those blankets up around my ears, this morning’s magic, makes me realize that even dense fogs can be the instrument to bring about enchanting beauty. And as a writer, I want to have paper and pen or computer ready to record the unexpected brief revelations of fulfillment and loveliness that surprise me as I walk this way, for I do not walk alone.

 

 

 

Reevaluating the State of Affairs

Posted by ruthsmithmeyer-com on January 17, 2017 at 2:20 PM Comments comments (0)

Ever since January when my second husband skipped off to heaven, there’s been a sneaky specter hanging about. It doesn’t actually let me have a good look at it, but it keeps gleefully whispering, “You’re getting old!”

My body gets in on the taunting disparagement. My blood sugars become unpredictable. My hip gets bursitis, making me begin to waddle like an old--no, no, it’s just my hip! It can’t be because I’m old! My doctor, as though I’m going to need it for the rest of my life, sets up an appointment with a specialist to make sure the walker that I’m using is right for me, and when asked about a dark spot that has appeared on my hand blithely tells me, “Oh you’re just getting rusty from old age!”

What? Me old?

“Yeah? You’re next!” is the murmur from that ghostly shadow. “After all, how many years can you have left?”

Then in August, my second last baby turns 50! The nerve! That’s just about five years younger than I feel on the inside, but facts are facts. I must have been older than five when she was born.

That evening is however, the impetus for some reflection during the quiet moments of night. At first I want to fight back. On further contemplation I decide to face that specter, make friends with it and walk along in companionship. Yes, I am getting older, but that doesn’t mean I have to succumb in docile or compliant surrender and sit back waiting to die! If I can’t skip along the way, I can walk briskly—give that menacing apparition a run for his/her money!

I ask the doctor for referral to a physiotherapist and begin a twice daily exercise regimen. My hip drastically improves. I renew my commitment to my quiet time that has been disrupted the changes in my life and I realize that God loves me and has plans for me right where I am in life. I begin to dream of other things to write about. I work on incorporating a regular painting day to nurture another part of my creativity. I make plans to pay regular visits to my wonderful, enlarged family who also foster my inner spirit. I even toy with the idea of using duolingo to learn a new language. I’ll first renew my acquaintance with German then try to enlarge my knowledge of French—something I always thought I’d do sometime in my life. I’ll do as my grandfather said—wear out instead of rust out—in spite of dark areas on my hands!

Eventually, when the good Lord is ready for me, I too, will sprint off to heaven, but meantime I’ll stay busy with the delights that he provides here on earth.

 

Further That the Eye Can See

Posted by ruthsmithmeyer-com on April 15, 2016 at 5:50 PM Comments comments (1)

Fran barely got inside the door with the bag she held in her arms. A wave of emotion surged through me as I caught sight of familiar shirt fabric peeking above the edge of the bag. 

“I’m going to cry,” I warned her as the tears sprang to my eyes. I reached out to give her a hug and she just held on to me as I sobbed for a moment. She had done one of the nicest things anyone has ever done for me.

A short time after  my husband, Paul’s death, Fran had asked if she could have some of his dress shirts so she could make a quilt of them. Already then, my heart was touched at her kindness. I was thinking of a wall hanging or a lap quilt, but the finished quilt is a queen-size that fits my bed perfectly.

 

As I looked over those well-known patches, it seemed I could almost feel my husband’s arms around me. It was almost three months since my dear one left for the heavenly realms and I had not been able to cry much because I felt that it would seem I was ungrateful for the time we had been granted. That quilt helped me shed the tears that alleviated my reserve and facilitated the beginning of a healing process.

                        Its work isn’t completed, for it will continue bringing me joy and happy memories. There are parts of the shirt Paul was wearing the first time he invited me to his house. A few are from a shirt I bought for him to attend my great-nieces wedding. There’s a part of a pocket from a shirt that had ‘Canada’ on the flap. Then there’s one from the shirt that was identical to one my first husband wore. Even Paul’s ‘cowboy shirt’ that he only wore when he visited his son in Alberta is included. And with each one, there are unique memories of the man who was a real bonus blessing I had never expected but was a gift straight from God. 

The sight of something, just like the quilt, often stirs our memories and emotions. You may, for instance see a small teapot just like your grandma’s and immediately you are transported back to the shaded verandah where she served you mint tea on a lazy summer day. You smell smoke and unbidden, the scene of a barn-fire in your past is played out on the screen of your mind. The sight of a certain plaid flannel shirt or a warm cardigan brings back the feel of your grandfather’s arms holding you close.

  At a writing workshop that I once led, I took along a few familiar items—a candlestick, a china tea cup and doll. Putting them out one at a time, I asked those in the class to write whatever came to mind when they looked at that item. It took a few moments for some to get started, but most put their pens to work right away and kept writing until time was up. When some of them shared, it was amazing the variety of memories and emotions that were aroused by one item.

  As writers, we sometimes wonder what we can write that hasn’t been recorded before. However, as with those articles, whatever we witness in life and attempt to write about will stir up unique memories and observations that are inimitable, because we are unique human beings and no one else sees things quite like we do. However by honest recounting of what we see and experience, we can help others to be candid with themselves.

  As I wrote my memoirs in Out of the Ordinary many memories were raised so vividly that my dreams were full of scraps having to do with different eras in my life. Some of those memories brought me renewed happiness and had me smiling broadly. Several released tears of long-forgotten hurt as I lived again the pain of being misunderstood or rejected. There also were those that made me blush in embarrassment all over again. However, it was a healing and invigorating process as I brushed the dust off of those neglected parts of my life. Seeing them from a more mature advantage, helped me acknowledge them and then let them go.

  It constantly amazes me that by being open, sharing not only the good parts of my life but also the struggles and failures, it can be helpful to others. After my book was out for a while, in the course of two days, I got calls from three different women whose lives were quite diverse—from my own as well as each other’s. Yet they all said the same thing, almost word for word.

  “It was so refreshing to read your story. Sometimes I almost felt as though I was reading about my own life, because I identified so closely with you. It was nice to know that someone else struggled with the same feelings I did.”

  Each time I get such a reaction from my readers, I give thanks, for it seemed they have gained something from my story. There are feelings that are common to us, even when the circumstances differ. We humans are too apt to think others are coping better than we and that we are the only ones struggling with life. Sharing those feelings can be a relief and have the affect of validating each other

  So writers, let’s take another look at what lies before us and around us. Let’s really see the ordinary things of life and let the memories and associations speak to us. Writing about it may bring healing and resolution to not only us as writers, but to readers as well.

 

 

Away, On or Through

Posted by ruthsmithmeyer-com on February 18, 2016 at 4:40 PM Comments comments (0)


“Why do we have so many ways to talk about the ending of life?” a writer asked a while ago. “A person croaked, kicked the bucket, bought the farm, bit the dust, departed, expired, passed away, passed on or passed through—why not say it like it is? They died!” The many expressions, she thought, stem from people not willing to face the bald fact that death has taken place.

 


Death is a subject many are uncomfortable talking about and many would rather not think about this inevitable part of life. Even those who have confronted the idea and dealt with their apprehension may still have some qualms. My first husband when told he was terminal said “I’m not afraid of death; it’s the unknown process of dying that makes me anxious.”

 

Talking about it, though, is one of the best preparations for the time when we are confronted with death, whether it happens suddenly or we are told we or our loved ones are terminal. More than a year before my first husband’s death, as part of a Marriage Encounter team, we wrote a presentation about our feelings as we think on the death of our spouse. It was a difficult time of writing, but we trudged ahead until it was written. That encouraged us to go ahead and make some tentative funeral plans. We had no idea how soon we would be glad we had done the talking and planning before the reality stared us in the face.

 

In the time after his death, I was glad for those whose comfort level was such that they could listen to my grief and weren’t afraid to mention Norman and talk about him. I was also confronted many times with those who didn’t know how or were afraid of talking about death. The tension was tangible every time I mentioned my husband’s name, and many times, the subject was abruptly changed. I became acutely aware of the need of education about death.

 


When my second love, Paul and I got married ten years ago, we knew that one of us would                                  pr obably have to face the loss of a partner the second time. When he was diagnosed with a very aggressive cancer just two weeks after our marriage, we thought this may happen much sooner than we had hoped. However, God gave me incredible peace, assuring me that I was exactly where he wanted me to be. In spite of the hours and hours spent in waiting rooms and hospitals, those ten years brought joy and blessings far above what we could have anticipated. Even when at the beginning of January this year we were told there was nothing left to fight the cancer and that Paul would now be placed under the care of the Palliative Care Team, that incredible peace and joy remained. We had ten years!

 

Having gone through the experience of ushering a second husband into the next life, I’ve been thinking a lot about that woman’s statement. Yes, both Norman and Paul died, and I’m not afraid or shy to say so.


Somehow, to say they died, is not enough. I was right there and sang both of them into eternity although this time I had the help of family around me. “Home!” Norman whispered with joy, in his final moment. Paul relaxed as we sang “I can only imagine” and other hymns. He breathed his last with a smile on his face. It did not seem like death so much as stepping through the gossamer curtain dividing this earthly life and eternity. Both of those occasions were not so much death scenes as times replete and abounding with life—life abundant.

 

“Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his faithful ones.” Psalm 116:15




Dancing in the Rain

Posted by ruthsmithmeyer-com on October 14, 2015 at 12:00 AM Comments comments (0)


 

The windows of the worship space in our church are large. There is no need for stained glass images to enhance the view and adoration of our Maker, for we can see the handiwork of creation—a variety of trees, daffodils, iris and other plantings at their base, the green grass and blue skies. A few weeks ago a steady rain fell during the service. That just added to the lush beauty of the view each time I glanced out a window. Suddenly, my eyes were drawn to movement and I watched in awe as several bright yellow goldfinches did an aerial dance, rising and swooping in delight, rising higher and then diving toward the grass before they shifted upward again. It seemed as though they were releasing their spirits in utter abandonment to joy. I’m afraid my attention strayed from the sermon as my eyes were riveted to the inflight extravaganza.


I thought goldfinches were vegetarians, eating only seeds of plants, but I wondered if I was wrong and they perhaps were catching some of the vast army of mosquitoes that have inundated our area. I would have been less surprised if they had been swallows, but the colour and size of those birds definitely identified them as goldfinch.


As soon as I returned home, I looked on line to see if goldfinches eat mosquitoes. But according to the sources I investigated, I was right—they are vegetarians.


Maybe those delightful, bright coloured birds were frolicking in exuberant jubilation for the sheer joy of it. I felt a tug in my own heart. We’d had a difficult week with an emergency ambulance trip for my husband, a real scare that his symptoms were life threatening, several days of uncertainty and some still hanging over our heads. Could goldfinches be a reminder to me to let go of the resistance to the rain of difficulty and uncertainty? Could I dance too, knowing that grey showers would water my soul just as surely the rain was watering the earth? Could I just enjoy God’s care for us and do my own dance in the rain?


Over the next few weeks, that picture from the sanctuary window vividly played over and over again in my mind. It seemed every time uncertainty and distinct possibility of more health challenges arose, that scene of joy in the rain came back to me to urge me to dance in spite of or amidst the rain.


Habakkak 3: 17.18 says:

“Even though the fig trees have no blossoms,

and there are no grapes on the vines;

even though the olive crop fails,

and the fields lie empty and barren;

even though the flocks die in the fields,

and the cattle barns are empty, yet I will rejoice in the LORD!

I will be joyful in the God of my salvation!”


I could substitute some of the seeming lacks in my own life and that of my husband’s right now, but the good prophet has the idea and we will rejoice in the God of our salvation—even in the rain!


“(For) those who (go) off with heavy hearts

will come home laughing, with armloads of blessing.” Psalm 26:5

 

Great is Thy Faithfulness--Yes, Really

Posted by ruthsmithmeyer-com on October 13, 2015 at 10:00 AM Comments comments (12)

I sat beside a dear friend and prayed. She was hospitalized, suffering from a severe headache, and so far, they had come up with only unproven theories for the cause. My heart ached for her because she’d come through some difficult times already. I had asked if I could pray for her and she had answered, “Please do!” –so I prayed.


“Lord, you have made our bodies with such intricacy. The doctors aren’t sure what is the matter with my friend, but you made her and know exactly where she needs healing. Would you please lay your healing touch on that exact spot?”


Suddenly, I was interrupted by her stiffening body. I opened my eyes to see she was having a seizure. I went to the door and called the nurse down the hall, “We need attention here, now!”


“What for?”


“My friend is having a seizure.”


Several nurses and a doctor came running. It was a good fifteen minutes when a nurse finally reported that the patient was coming out of the seizure, and since there was nothing I could do, I headed for home. I had quite a conversation with the Lord all the way!


“Lord, I don’t understand what you are doing! An immediate answer would have been quite welcome, but this doesn’t seem like much of an answer at all, Jesus. I don’t understand!”


I felt deeply dismayed and perhaps even a bit disgruntled. What was he doing to me and tomy friend? Then a thought came to me.


“It seems preposterous, but if by chance you can turn this around for the good of my friend, would you please do that?”


For the rest of my driving time and even after I got home, I breathed over and over again, “Lord turn it around for good. Please turn it around for good. I want to believe that you heard my prayer and that you are faithful in hearing and answering, so please turn it around for good.”


I tried to call my friend’s daughter to let her know what happened an offer any help she might need. Later that night, I got an email saying how thankful they were that I was with her mother. The nurses had been leaving the door shut and the lights low to keep from worsening her mom’s headache, so it could have been some time before she would have been found had no one been there.


That was nice to know, but I still wondered why it had to happen exactly when I asked God to touch her where she needed healing.


It was a day or two after that I heard from the daughter again. She said that because of the seizure, her mother was sent for further tests which determined the real reason for her headache. She was put on two different medications that would rectify what was wrong. So, she said, the seizure was a blessing in disguise.


Finally I could say, “Thank you Lord! You did know what you were doing and what my friend needed to get the attention required. Thank you for your faithfulness.”


A week later, I went to see her again. At the end of our visit, I asked if she would trust me to pray again. She assured me that she would welcome that.


At the end of a short prayer, I said, “Amen.”


With a chuckle and shining eyes so typical of my dear friend’s humour, she said, “And not even a hint of a seizure!”


Yes, God is faithful!

 

 

Lifting Praising Hands

Posted by ruthsmithmeyer-com on October 12, 2015 at 8:10 PM Comments comments (0)

As I drove to the Lake Huron shore to join my family for our annual trek down memory lane and a time of thanksgiving for ongoing blessings, my heart echoed the psalmist’s words, “I thirst for you as parched land thirsts for rain.”

My hubby and I have had a few difficult months when our usual routines were totally disrupted, our days filled with new challenges and foreign confrontations. Even our time for quiet contemplation on God’s Word was at a bare minimum. My energy to meet a different way of life and adapt to a new normal was at low ebb. The knowledge that I held in my heart, the surety that God would see me through, had not seeped into the far reaches of my brain. That orifice was still searching the files of past experiences trying to come up with a solution of its own.

As I drove, a few splashes of brilliance in the autumn landscape brought brief pleasure before I once more mulled over the changes in our lives. I wondered how my writing life would fit into the new scheme of things or if it would be pushed aside. I hated to think that would happen, for writing has become a satisfying part of who I am and brings me sustenance as well as joy. It brings me delight to serve my husband and care for him, but my aging body is no longer capable of doing all I used to do.

My attention was again, drawn to the scarlet, orange and yellow maples. The changing colour of the leaves is thrilling in their beauty, but that same colour signals the end of this year’s foliage. It’s the autumn of my life too. How can I make this time of life bring joy to myself and others as I cling to the branches and yet acknowledge I must also learn to let go? How is that going to change the landscape of my life? The thoughts kept churning through my mind.

Up ahead, against the blue, blue autumn skies with their purple lined clouds I espied a few of the much maligned wind turbines. (In spite of what others think about those towers, my heart as usual lifted at the sight of them. I love their grace and silent movement.)

 

Suddenly I almost saw Psalm 134:2 visibly written on them. “Lift your hands in prayer toward his holy place and praise the Lord.” Those long blades were turning at the merest whisper of winds--winds which I had been totally unaware in the hurried racing of my mind. But their blades turned because they were lifted toward the sky, ready and willing to move in the breeze.

 

It’s as though God was whispering to me, “When you’re in need of power, my child, lift your hands toward me, too. You’ll see that although you thought you were alone; that nothing was moving positively; that you were at the end of your strength; if you lift your hands toward me, things will change. You, too, will notice the winds of the Spirit moving the circumstances of your life. You will see the work I can do in and through you. But you need to raise your hands toward me.”

 

Those thoughts lingered with me throughout the weekend and speak to me still. In the celebration of Thanksgiving, can I move toward lifting my hands to praise God and let him do the turning?

 

Psalm 134 does indeed urge me to lift my praising hands to the Holy Place and bless God. In turn the God who made heaven and earth will bless me. What more could I need?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Birthday 75--January and February

Posted by ruthsmithmeyer-com on February 19, 2015 at 7:50 PM Comments comments (2)

How often have you said, "Some day I would like to..."  and how often when your children were growing up did you feel that those sentiments either bored them or they flew right over their heads?


I shared with you how wide my smile was when my family announced they were taking us to hear The Messiah, and that part of the elation came from the discovery of just how well they know me and what makes me happy.  Since then, the smiles just keep coming as fast as the special times my family plans for me!


As promised, one night in January, my children, daughter-in-law and a dear, talented pianist met at a recording studio.  It was hard to choose only eight songs, so I chose probably fifteen.  Since some of the ones I thought of as oldie goldlies were unfamilar to the younger set, it was good I had some extras.  There we stood around the piano in that tiny studio while my grandson crouched off to the side to catch the action on the camera. 


Apparently the soul-delight was evident on my face according to my dear off-spring. I smiled throughout the night.  Because the wonderful friend who was doing the recording suggested singing the songs more than once so he'd have a choice from which to put on the final CD, we had a prolonged pleasure.  It was a warm family time doing one of the things I most enjoy.


We still don't have the final product.  I know I will enjoy it when it comes, but already I have lived the delight over and over in my mind and it continues to put a smile on my face.


I didn't know what would come in February, but daughter #2 recalled how often I said I'd like to compile a cantata out of some of the Christmas music our choir has done over the years.  There is a rich repertoire from which to choose.  She gathered up copies of them all and gave them to me in advance in order to give me some time to think about it. Then she came to spend a day with me. We hummed through the various songs, or she played them on the keyboard.  


My mind had been active day and night, just looking forward to it.  I had come to the conclusion that it could be called God so Loved the World. We categorized the songs by advent, actual birth of Jesus, shepherds, angels, wisemen and joys and alleluias. Then from those categories, we chose ones to fit the theme, while I typed in on my computer some narration to tie the pieces together. What delight to feel the creative juices flow to bring a message from the beautiful songs from which we had to choose.  


It remains to be seen if it will actually be used, but it was fun putting it together and yes, I'm still smiling and loving my family for their thoughtfulness!




 

Well-buttered Bread

Posted by ruthsmithmeyer-com on February 19, 2015 at 7:30 PM Comments comments (0)

Ecclesiastes 11:1 says, “Cast your bread upon the waters, for you will find it after many days”—and someone has added “well-buttered!”


That casting your bread upon the waters is similar to random acts of kindness, the suggested theme for this month.

The first time I read about Random Acts of Kindness was in a Reader’s Digest article many years ago. It captured my mind and for months and even years, I periodically tried to think of things I could do to brighten someone’s day—a plate of cookies for a busy mom, folding the dry clothes from a neighbours line and stacking them neatly in her wash basket, a Tim’s gift certificate in for the mailman, a container of soup for a mom of one of my bus kids who I knew had just returned from the hospital, a suggestion for a helpful routine to my Sunday school pupils—whatever crossed my mind when I saw a need. It became a way of life for me—sometimes more frequent than others. When this idea was new to me, I got a real rise from just doing it that lasted for days. As those times became more routine, I still feel satisfaction and thankfulness, but now it’s a deeper, quieter sense of working with God.

Random acts of kindness that are deliberate and thought out are good, but I often feel the best ones are those we do in our regular day without thinking what the results may be. Just recently, a pastor who was in my Sunday School class as a young teenager sent me a gift. I knew from the shape and feel that it was a book. When I read her letter and her expression of thanks, I was astounded.

For several weeks those many years ago, I had handed each of my students an envelope with seven short scriptures on separate pieces of paper with instructions to choose one each morning, read it over several times and then stick it in their pockets or wallets, carry it with them and read it again now and then through the day. They were amazed at how relevant those scriptures were each day. One of them wondered how I knew what they were going through. I explained that is what the Word of God is like. It applies itself to our everyday living—that the very same verse may take on different meanings depending on our circumstances.


On a whim, I had bought each of my pupils a small Hilroy note book and suggested to them that they entitle them, God’s dealing in the life of ________ (and insert their name.) I told them to share in the journal their struggles and how God met them in the midst of those times: their joys and how God brought pleasure to their moments. I suggested that after a while they go back and read their record and indicated that they may be quite surprised at how good God is and how evident is his work in their lives.


The gift from this dear girl, now a grown woman was one of those books with empty pages. It wasn’t just a simple exercise book, it has a beautiful cover. She told me she has filled many books since the one I gave her and often she goes back through them and is amazed at how God has led her through both difficult and triumphant times. The entries weren’t always daily, but those journals were a record of her growth and understanding of God’s touch on her life. She was expressing thanks and passing back an act of kindness. How special for her to offer me thanks so many years later.

I had long ago forgotten that piece of bread cast on the waters, but now it came back—well-buttered.

 


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