Monthly Archives: April 2012

Shine Today

Many years ago while vacationing in Maine I happened to drive to the city of Portsmouth,New Hampshire. I took a lovely boat trip that day and also browsed some shops.

But that is not what remained in my heart all this time. No, it was something else that I saw.

I was riding in the backseat of the car as I road through the city on our way back to York Beach,Maine. That part of the city was run down and dirty. My eyes scanned the buildings and I ached at the signs of poverty on every side. Laundry hanging. Trash. Once in a while I saw a child’s face and wondered how in the world it must be to live there.

As I reflected on my many blessings my eyes were pulled as it were up to the color red.

There on someone’s balcony way up high were some planters with bright red geraniums.

I had to smile.

It was the most unlikely sight.

A touch of beauty in the midst of poverty and gloom.

Someone had the heart to see what they could do to beautify their place rather than focusing on the less than ideal environment.

That’s it, I thought at the time.

Everyone doing what they can. Being a positive influence.

One touch of beauty at a time. One candle lit. One kind word spoken.

Yes, it is easy to focus on how bad things are. There is no question that we live in a hurting world.

But the answer seems to lie in these words. “Walk in the light.”

“Let your light so shine….”

Be t he difference you want to see. Be filled to overflowing with His Love and pour that out wherever you go.

Yes, one step at a time, plant some red geraniums and in so doing you change everything.

Well today I am planning to plant some seeds of kindness and care.

I am not blind to the darkness. But shining our lights changes everything.

How about you?

Things difficult where you are?
Plant some colorful geraniums. Instead of curing the darkness, praise the One Who keeps loving each and every one of us.

Change comes one step at a time.

Walk in the light today.

Shine On

What was it that drew me to him? I don’t know except maybe his brown eyes.

I was eighteen working as a teacher’s assistant at Head. Start. He was four and had that way of smiling at you that can melt your heart.

I’d sit at the small round table helping the little ones do puzzles

  And they would talk.

This little boy whom I will call Billy but was not his real name

 Was shy and did not mix easily with the other children.

Yes, at his young age he had already learned to keep things to himself.

But as one week led to another we built a relationship.

And slowly he began to share.

Little things at first.

About his family. His Mother who worked very hard. His young brothers and sister.

And his Dad.

I could always tell that he was nervous about his Dad. His eyes would look right into mine as if trying to tell me that what he shared was a secret.

They lived on the other side of the tracks in an old, tumbled down shack. Clearly the parents struggled to just keep the family together.

For a few hours each day that summer Billy participated with the other kids quickly learning his letters and numbers.

He was a smart one, that boy. His eyes would brighten whenever he gave the right answer.

When he finally laughed out loud it was like sunshine after a bad storm. You could just see the difference in him.

When I went off to college that year to prepare to be a teacher I oftentimes thought about Billy and his family.

 I longed to reach out and help.

But there didn’t seem to be anything that I could do.

So I forced myself to be content knowing that I would work at Head Start the following summer and until then to just pray God’s blessing on those people.

Until Christmas.

That Christmas I just couldn’t get that little boy’s face out of my mind.

I wondered what Christmas would be like for them.

Probably it wouldn’t be much.

Could it possibly be wrong to give them something?

I didn’t think so. So I got a big box and began filling it with toys for the kids, candy and food, clothing and whatever else I could think of. I was so excited.

That Christmas Eve when darkness settled over the town my Dad drove me to their home.

While he sat in the car waiting, I quietly tiptoed to the front of the house, up the steps where I could hear voices inside and placed the Christmas wrapped box by their front door.

My heart beat loudly as I silently crept down the stairs and back out to the car.

Getting in, my heart was overflowing with joy.

I had done what I could.

I’ll never know what happened when their front door was opened and they took the box inside.

I’ll never know.

But the memory of that time still lingers with me as being one of the best Christmases I ever had.

Shine on. Shine on.

Life is short and there are many, many such folks with us still.

It takes so little to make a big difference that will warm your heart for years to come.

It’s been over forty years for me. Seems like yesterday.

They say that love is eternal. And it is true.

I love you, Billy.

Shining Moments

He wore simple clothes. Matter of fact there was nothing about him that would have drawn attention. Standing before us in the express line this morning, he stood waiting.

Then he turned to me and said, “Why don’t you just go on ahead.”

I looked at the dozen eggs in my hands

    and then at his few items.

       It really wouldn’t take much time for him to check out.

“No, you go on,” he said motioning me forward.

I thanked him and stepped forward.

Thoughts peppered my mind.

Why would he do that?

Why would he choose to wait longer?

Why would he let me go ahead?

I handed the cashier some bills, picked up the egg carton and glanced back.

 

“Thank you,” I said meeting his eyes.

Those words seem so inadequate sometimes. And this was one of those times.

The man nodded and then spoke.

“God bless you.”

That was all.

 

Like sunshine on a cloudy day his words cheered my soul.

Our loving God reaches out to each and every one of us saying again and again in a thousand different ways that He loves us.

That in a sometimes uncaring world

    He cares about it all. He knows our deepest needs.

 

Last week I experienced the highs and lows of life.

The death of someone dear.

The birth of a precious little one.

Within hours I wept tears of sorrow and tears of joy.

My heart ripped first with pain and then burst with joy.

 

God feels it all with us. He knows our every pain.

He feels our deepest joy.

Our Friends walks by our said tenderly caring and drawing us close to Himself.

 

God blessed me today

    And encouraged me through the kind actions of another.

Yes, I am definitely planning to pass it on.

Look around you today.

Someone close by might just be needing a touch of encouragement

     through you.

Seize the opportunity to bless another’s life.

Add sunshine to their day and bring a smile.

And God will bless you for doing so. He always does.