It had been a challenging morning. My kids weren’t being particularly kind to one another, a few were complaining about school work, and I was feeling a little overwhelmed by all the tasks on my day’s “to-do” list. In the midst of this fray, I noticed our mail carrier entering the court, grabbed my jacket before my kids could beat me to the door, and headed out into the cool autumn air, thankful for a brief respite and a few quiet moments alone. I exchanged a quick greeting with our long-time mail carrier and she smiled warmly as she handed me a stack of envelopes. Already I felt better – less harried and somewhat soothed by the bright sun shining in a cloudless sky.
I walked up the driveway breathing in the cool air and leafing through my stack of mail, surprised by a sudden flash of pink tucked between the usual white business envelopes. We were past the summer birthdays and still a couple of months from the winter ones. Now I was curious. I pulled out a small bright pink envelope addressed to me. The name and return address were unfamiliar. Intrigued, I lingered on the porch and opened my envelope, discovering with great delight that a woman I don’t know and have never met wanted me to know that my writings “have hit home and moved me more than you could imagine.” Wow!
As I reread those unexpected, beautiful words, Proverbs 15:30 came to mind: “A cheerful look brings joy to the heart, and good news gives health to the bones.” They sure do! One brief smile had lightened my mood, and a few precious words had changed my perspective completely. They’d also made me think. I’d done so little to encourage my kids that morning. I hadn’t smiled. I hadn’t laughed, and I’d quickly let their attitudes affect my own. Gently, God reminded me again that true joy — His joy – is far more contagious than bad attitudes, and like leavening just a little bit makes all the difference. Oh. Why do I still find it so hard to remember to just slow down and savor the moment, to rest quietly in God’s plan for my day instead of my own, to find the joy God so abundantly sows into each moment of my life?
Encouraged and refreshed, I stood outside thanking God for reminding me that it really is the simple things, the small investments of time and energy that effect the greatest change. “Father,” I prayed, “make me a blessing to those around me, a willing vessel, pouring out Your love on a lost and hurting world. Teach me gentleness in the face of impatience, peace in the midst of chaos, kindness in the face of fear. Teach me compassion in the midst of pain, and love when I feel least loving. Thank you for the soothing balm of a quick smile, a bright pink envelope and beautiful, healing words on a challenging morning. What a delightfully unexpected blessing! In Your Son’s name, Amen.”