Showing posts from February, 2014

Your Dad is My Dad

First of all I'd like to thank you. What you did was something I hope that I'd do for your dad if he lived in my town. 
He’d come to the courthouse to pay his car license fees, but not knowing where to go, he entered the wrong end of the monolithic building.
I’m sure you could see he was elderly, but then you must have noticed how tired he seemed. 

When he asked you where he needed to go, instead of pointing the way, you had him sit in a nearby chair. You walked the lengthy hallways to complete his transaction. I'm not sure why, but I cried when I heard what you did. Maybe it was a small act, something you'd have done regardless, but it was your kindness that touched me so deeply.

How often have I brushed past the aging in my own community in my rush to complete my own to-do list? Do I bother to notice how tired they are? Have I stopped long enough to ask if they could use me to run an errand? 
I’m often so self-absorbed that I fear I’ve missed dozens of chances to do what …

America's Addiction

It was several years ago, but in my mind the scene could have been yesterday. A friend had been blindsided by a bottle of pills. An overdose. This wasn’t some anonymous person I would read about in tomorrow’s newspaper, but my friend’s daughter. 
Standing on either side of a gurney, our hushed hospital voices pleaded for God’s mercy. We looked past the IV tubes and the machines bleeping their numerical stats and remembered a much younger girl twirling around the living room pretending to be a ballerina.
Driving home from the hospital, I asked myself all the questions I couldn’t ask in the hospital. When had this precious little ballerina become a drug addict and why?
My friend’s daughter hadn’t been smoking pot, snorting cocaine, doing meth, or shooting heroin. She’d been buying prescription drugs from friends of friends. The journey from the emergency room to one treatment center after another was a long one. Getting past the opiate bondage wasn’t easy or cheap. It seemed like her …

Love Isn’t Enough

Imagine an old car with a young couple and their two little kids traveling across the country in the relentless mid-summer’s heat.

Optimism prevailed—a promised teaching job paying far more than the jobs back home. Finally arriving, the promised job is gone and now their pockets are nearly empty. Struggle wasn’t new to Conward and Bernadean, so they turned around and figured it wasn’t meant to be.
Oh, but it was. Crossing the Oregon border into Washington, Conward decided to call a local school for any possible job.

He didn’t know God too well, but miraculously He provided a teaching job for the following September, a place to live, and an immediate income source as a janitor. It was their new beginning. And it became the invitation to get to know God much better—which they did.

Anyone married as long as Conward and Bernadean knows that life brings many new beginnings. Like the new beginning that came after Conward had spent countless nights and several summers studying to become a s…

Smiling Lip Service

A sociologist conducted an experiment. One day he walked the streets of his large city and purposely smiled at everyone he met. He counted the smiles and in nearly every case his smile yielded one in return. Much harder to measure was the “happy effect” he personally felt after his experiment.
The next day, he didn’t smile at all when his eyes met others while walking along the street. No one smiled back at him either, and not surprisingly there was no happy effect afterwards. Realizing he controlled his smile and its potential to change his own demeanor, he reported that smiling was advantageous to one’s mental well being.

While I enjoyed his research, it didn’t extend far enough—because there are different kinds of smiles.

The smiles shared with strangers on the street are what I call courtesy smiles. These are “random acts of kindness” smiles. Indeed, like the sociologist reports—they lend themselves to feeling better about humanity and our shared space.

We’ve all experienced hear…