I have started reading the Bible again. It’s the big one that belonged to my grandmother, my grandfather and my mother, who were all big underliners and questioners. Deeper thinkers than I, certainly. I have a woman’s companion book which goes along with each chapter and tilts it to the kinds of questions and dilemmas a woman would have. Far better way for me to be reading it, if only to keep me focused.
I grew up in a believing home. My mother prayed. My father didn’t give her too much static. We attended church regularly and yes, I DID feel better after services. My downfall was the great big windows in the church itself—I could watch the birds outside, sing, watch the birds, sing—-and think my own private thoughts which might or might not line up with whatever was being discussed. I would fix upon my face ahead tilted, interested look, with a slight inquiring smile and do my best to keep my head empty of most everything being talked about.
I learned to play the piano so that I’d never have to teach a class.
I went to a religious college, where I just LOVED the freedom. This was BYU in the late 60’s and early 70’s and if you are a little askance about all the freedom I had, you just didn’t spend enough time in the home I grew up in.I’m not saying it was bad. I’m just saying it wasn’t the best petri dish for ME.
I took my children to church as well. I found a pastor I could listen to, found wonderful teachers from my world who would be their Sunday School teachers and off we’d go. I still have wonderful friends from the Nazarene Church in Portervile—wonderful enough to want to drive there on Sunday for the early, noisy, musical service.
So back to my goals.
I’m a list maker. I really think that were I not to have a list in my hand, I wouldn’t know what to do with myself. So this period of time (a week? a year? The rest of my life?) I want to show kindness to others so that they walk away from any encounter with me feeling refreshed.
It’s based on a bible verse, but I think it is do-able no matter what you believe or even if you believe. The verse is Philemon 1:7. It comes in several translations and depending on my whim, one is better than the others on different days.
King James “For we have great joy and consolation in thy love, because the hearts of the saints are refreshed by thee, brother.”
New Living Translation “Your love has given me much joy and comfort, my brother, for your kindness has often refreshed the hearts of God’s people.”
For me it has been a life-changing experience. Consciously treating others with respect and love. It doesn’t matter if you are in line with me at the grocery store, my server at a restaurant, or a friend. I will be kind. I will show you love. I will. And if I fail to do that, which I will do at times, I will feel sorrow over the encounter, and I’ll hope that someone else made you feel good that day.
Goals like this are interesting. I set out to make sure I am kind to others and that they walk away feeling refreshed, but I am the one who always feels better.