Throughout the week we write and share, read and comment, and then hit repeat. Sometimes we don’t give ourselves an adequate amount of time to recharge before we are at it again. So, I want to pause right now and thank all of you, who stop by to read, engage, and share. I don’t take any of you for granted. Even if we don’t agree on certain views, I appreciate your decency, respectfulness, and for showing others just what it’s like to be civil, kind, and human. That’s character. Enjoy your day! 🌞
As people who believe that all things are being made new, we can recognize – even in the brokenness of failure and in the hurt of people with whom we will never be able to reconcile – that we are not trapped in the worst things we have done. We can be better and are being made whole moment by moment. Reconciliation is in that hope of transformation.-Jeannie Alexander, Longing for Reconciliation, Disciplines 2022
I was reading the above devotion last week, and through the lesson, this stood out “Clenched fists, open hands.” Maya Angelou once said, “I’ve learned that you shouldn’t go through life with a catcher’s mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw something back.”
We would probably say that based on the number of images we see, many people are walking around with clenched fists. But I think there are more people than we know who are sporting open hands. A clenched fist signifies solidarity, but depending on the angle it’s coming from, it can mean anger, harboring a short fuse, and being ready to fight. Open hands, on the other hand (no pun intended), display an invitation that welcomes, reveals kindness, and offers compassion and help when needed.
Depending on the situation, a clenched fist may be necessary to defend, but open hands can be the peacemaker in a place where chaos and confusion rear their ugly head.
“There is more power in the open hand than in the clenched fist.” — Herbert Newton Casson
It never hurts to be kind. We can get twisted in a web of craziness anytime and on any day. I heard someone recently say, “Service is love made visible.” Sometimes we can be a little self-centered or come off as a little self-righteous when we don’t mean to. Kindness is service with a smile. So today, smile, even if you don’t feel like it, do it anyway. It’s a great mood-changer. You never know who needs to see a smiling face right now. You never know who may be hurting and just needs to feel a little comfort through your beautiful smile. It costs nothing to be kind.
Everyone is looking for that magical key to happiness. So many people are walking around unhappy and miserable. It seems like their happiness is being held hostage. Does that magical key fit into the keyhole of a particular place, person, or thing? What unlocks your happiness quotient? What is keeping you from turning the key?
“You can cage the singer but not the song.” -Harry Belafonte
Don’t wait for a special occasion to celebrate and be happy. Make your own happiness, and celebrate anyway, special occasion or not. If not today, then when?
Yesterday I had to go pick up a few things from the grocery store (or market, depending on your neck of the woods). In the aisle I was shopping in, I almost bumped into another lady who was standing behind me, picking up some sardines for her cat. We exchanged niceties, chuckling about almost bumping into each other. And of course, in the canned food section, or in any section of the grocery store for that matter, you somehow find a way to strike up a conversation with someone, even if it is about the ingredients or the weather.
Interestingly, our conversation began about people not speaking to each other or to acknowledge their presence. Of course, having been born with the gift of gab, although you don’t have to carry on an extended conversation with a perfect stranger in a grocery store, does it hurt to say hello? You know, I watch how people somehow come together and help each other during a disaster regardless of race, creed, political affiliation, or financial status, when everyone seems to be in the same boat at the same time.
Food and conversation somehow have a way of going together, fitting perfectly like a hand in glove. Think about it. If you go to a restaurant, dine al fresco, or have a family dinner in the comfort of your home, there is usually some type of conversation(s) going on. Yet, how did we get to this place of not acknowledging the existence of people by simply ignoring they are even there in your line of sight?
Oh, trust me, this type of dismissal didn’t happen overnight. Our conversation quotient has been unraveling for a long time now. But just because people hesitate or refuse to speak, that does not stop me from being courteous. I’m not bringing anyone home, for goodness sakes, I’m just speaking to them. Sometimes, you never know what that could do to brighten someone’s day. Complimenting them about what they’re wearing or just saying to them, “Have a good day,” could make a difference in their mental state. We don’t need to have a big stage to make a great first and lasting impression on someone we encounter throughout the day. Just a pleasant greeting, a simple act of kindness could make a world of difference by making someone’s day. You don’t need to have the gift of gab to do something so small that could make a big difference, more than you know.
I often think about my contributions to the world, even if my world is within a certain geographical or demographical scope. We typically think about what act of kindness we can do for others that will display our compassion and empathy. Innately, our human nature is one that tries to respond to a need when we see someone in need.
Kindness is one asset that is free to give. It costs nothing to be kind even in our crazy messed up world where intolerance seems to reign supreme. Let’s face it, we all have issues, whether we want to admit it or not. We tend to be superficial at times and try to put on a facade indicating that everything is hunky dory, when it is not.
But let’s keep it real here. I believe that every little bit that is positive and constructive helps. I believe that as Bill Withers sang in his song “Lean on Me” that message in his lyrics reverberates more now than ever. I find that if there is something I can do, no matter how small or how insignificant I might think it may be, it probably can be useful to someone else. I ask myself, as I pray each morning, what can I do this day, this moment, to encourage, to assist, or to simply listen. I focus on myself to make sure I am being a better me, a healthier me, so that I can be grounded and strong enough to be a viable contributor to my family and my community, without being depleted of energy or ability.
Yes, we follow our dreams, although we may not achieve the leaps and bounds, or that great utopia as we hope. Yet in that regard, let’s not forget nor overlook or cast aside the great progress we made or the monumental achievements we will make. ❤🤗❤ Small acts, can make a big difference. Just make sure your small acts are good ones. Have a fan-tabulously productive and awe-inspiring day y’all! 🌞
Last week, we commemorated Earth Day. It wasn’t just a day to celebrate the earth, but a time to embrace and love her. Some people are completely oblivious to the gifts and elements our world gives to us on a day to day basis. Such distinction crosses over to people around us who give, and give and give, versus others who take-take-take for their own self-fulfillment.
Over two decades ago, a friend gave me a children’s picture book, The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein. It’s an easy-to-read teaching book for children with an even greater lesson that reminds adults about the heartfelt meaning of “give and take.” This little book gives us insight into the love of giving versus the selfishness of taking.
Although this short book can be read in a matter of minutes, I invite you to take your time to pause on every page, take in every illustration, and savor this timely message (which was first published in 1964). The Giving Tree offers simple life-changing lessons on how we interpret the gift of giving, how we examine our lack to lessen our taking based on our wants, and how some who give all too often overextend their capacity to make others happy, even when it kills them.
Final holiday preparations are in full swing. I was shopping in the grocery store the other day, and something stopped me in my tracks. I was talking to a lady in the frozen food section, initially with small chitchat about one of the products in the frozen vegetable section. I asked if she was preparing a big meal for the holidays and she told me no.
I assumed (and you know what they say about assume) that it was due to the social distancing recommendations for family gatherings during the holidays, but this lady was a widow and she said that she’d be spending the holidays alone. This sent an immediate stabbing pain through my heart. I literally wanted to retract asking her that question if I could have. This saddened me tremendously, but she broke the milli-second silence by telling me how she tries not to fall into that trap of depression just because she’s alone. She shared how she challenges her mind and purpose in spite of her current circumstances. She didn’t feel sorry for herself because life presented a circumstance that made her make some changes and daily adaptations.
I was literally speechless and had no words to try to respond to her current state of being alone. This lady actually made me feel better. I told her that she was an inspiration, and I admired and appreciated her courageous spirit.
Many people are living alone, most not by choice. Many are senior citizens and interestingly many are younger. Some will be alone for the holidays due to the social distancing guidelines, but let’s not forget individuals who we know are by themselves. There’s such a dreadful emotion behind feeling left out.
I know a few people who will be by themselves for the holidays, and some are in my family in other cities or states. But if you know of anyone, regardless of age, gender, culture, or race who may be spending the holidays alone, let them know they are not forgotten, either by preparing a meal for them, actually calling them and talking to them over the telephone or with some other act of kindness you can think of that would brighten their day. Show them that they are not forgotten. #Kindness