…so they may see the good that you do and give glory to God. Matthew 5:16
What is the best good deed you’ve ever done for another person? I hope as you fumble through your mind for that answer you have so many it ’s hard to choose. Wouldn’t that make for an awesome world; if we did so many good things for others we couldn’t even recall each of them? I had a week of really good things and as I sit here typing and thinking about them my heart is as warm as the coffee I’m sipping! It was a crazy busy week so it might be easy to swish on by to the new week without remembering all the good events that touched my life. As I share a few of mine, reach back through your memory and grab some of yours too.
Birthday treats for the class are definitely an elementary teacher perk, especially the ones moms around here send in! One of my middle lovelies celebrated her birthday this week and she brought the best treat EVER! All of the students got slushies but I got a delicious hot steaming cup of fresh coffee! That was good; very good. I got a cupcake from a kindergartner with a plastic football ring on top. The bonus was he pulled it out of the cupcake, licked off the frosting and slipped it on my finger before I knew what was happening. He told me it looked really good on me too. That was good; very good. I got a flower from a student, a new Rosary and prayers from my daughter as she visited the holiest places in Poland. That was good; very good! I got a fabulous drawing, a freezer full of fresh beef, a lovely date with my groom and an email from an old friend. I got to watch a group of 12 year olds powerfully lead an entire school in Adoration prayers. It was a good week; a very good week! Mr. Thelen was reading from the book of Genesis at morning prayer this week and the line that bounced in my ears each time he read was; “and God saw that it was good!”
We may not be people of power, or riches or fame but we are certainly people capable of goodness. I read the story of Gino Bartali the Italian Olympic cyclist recently and I was touched in a huge way. Gino would smuggle paperwork in the frame of his bike that was necessary to free Jewish people during WWII. The soldiers let him ride right past because they thought he was training so he could bring home more gold medals. Little did they know he was making it possible for hundreds of Jewish men, women and children to escape to freedom and life. After the war when the discovery of his great goodness was made, his simple reply was this. “Good is something you do, not something you talk about. Some medals are pinned to your soul not to your jacket.”
So here’s to a week of medals pinned to our souls! Make it a week of GOOD!
A Seed To Plant: Make a plan to do five acts of pure goodness this week and ask God to bless the people who will receive those acts of goodness.
Blessings on your day!
God has glory in what he conceals…Proverbs 25:2
I often tell my students that my brothers got all the athletic ability in our family. Every speck of it I got you could stack neatly on the tip of my pinky nail! Seriously, I was even lousy at the game hide and seek! In order to be good at hide and seek you have to be quick enough to run off to a great hiding spot and you have to be nimble enough to slink into small secluded spaces. It seemed like I was the permanent seeker and rarely the hider. We had a rainy day this week and that meant indoor recess. Very often during indoor recess the little kids will play a game of hide and seek and it cracks me up because a classroom is filled with mostly open space but they find it entertaining. It made me think about what and who is hiding in each of us. I guess you could say that today’s post is brought to you by a group of little people hiding behind the coat rack and under the table.
What gifts or talents are hiding inside you? Sometimes we don’t reveal our true abilities because we have the silly notion that if I’m not the “best” at something I’m not gonna put myself out there and be shown up. God gave us those gifts not to be hidden but to be shared. We have to remember that comparison is the greatest their of joy!
What person is hiding inside us? How much time do we spend trying to think, look and act like someone else? In the midst of all that, the world is missing out on the YOU God created you perfectly to be. You are fearfully and wonderfully made for a specific purpose! God doesn’t make mistakes. I spent the first couple decades of my life hating my hips until I was in my 32nd hour of labor with a 10 pound baby and the doctor looked at me and said, “You can do this, God gave you the perfect hips to deliver big healthy babies, he knew what he was doing.” After I recovered from the urge to spit on his shoes, I realized he was exactly right and I needed to change my perspective a bit. The you that’s hiding inside could be the exact person someone has been waiting for years to meet.
What’s hiding in our joy, our sorrow, our challenges, our celebrations and our frustrations? What’s God trying to teach us; what amazing lessons does he have tucked in there for us to find? What if we looked at each day as an opportunity to SEEK instead of HIDE? The harder we seek the more we will find and who knows what treasures God has for us in the midst of the very things we’re hiding from and hiding behind. Amazing what indoor recess can make you think of!
A Seed To Plant: Take a few minutes to go back through this post and ponder the answers to all the questions it posed.
Blessings on your day!
Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Romans 12:12
I’m sure we’ve all heard the line, “if you aren’t part of the solution; you must be part of the problem.” They are wise words but perhaps a bit misunderstood. I think being part of the solution doesn’t necessarily mean solving the problem single handedly but rather making an honest attempt at working toward something better. There are some mighty problems in this world to be solved and I sure shootin didn’t cause them, plus I know for a fact that I am not in the position to solve them. So should I throw in the towel and go cry in the closet? Nope! I was reading an article about an amazing woman named Dorothy Day and she had one little idea that put it all in perspective for me.
Dorothy Day was a saving grace to so many who were left physically, spiritually and emotionally crippled by the devastation of the Great Depression. Her motives and actions were genuine, compassionate and life changing. She provided a beacon of hope during a time when there wasn’t much. She didn’t solve the financial problems of the day but she worked in her own way to be part of the solution one person and one family at a time. She didn’t offer money, but rather provided the most basic needs of the suffering. She offered dignity, shelter, hope and joy…so much joy. She didn’t give a lot ,but what she gave mattered greatly. She said, “We contribute to the misery of the world if we ignore beauty and joy in life. If we seek the will of the One who sent Jesus, we need to open our hearts to joy.”
It’s not hard to find the problems, but we get in a big pickle when we have an even harder time finding the beauty around us. It isn’t often we see a smiling baby or a gorgeous harvest moon on the front page of the paper or newsfeed but when we do see them they give us a lift. Who doesn’t love a good giggling baby video shared on social media? They just let us escape for a few minutes. After reading the article I realized my role in the solution was easier than I thought. It’s my job to connect with beauty and joy. John Ruskin was a famous art critic from England who used to say “We have the duty of delight.” That line made me realize we sometimes see joy and beauty and peaceful things as frivolous and non-productive. We think we have to work and take things to task and ponder serious matters in order to be responsible, informed citizens. Did you hear that, I think God just belly laughed!” We’ve got it so twisted up it isn’t even funny.
God is the maker of joy and beauty not the creator of evil, cynical, corrupt or absurd so why not focus on the things he made and leave the rest of the mess alone? Dorothy Day didn’t solve the problem of the Great Depression, but she sure was a solution to those she was able to bring delight to. Sounds like a much better way to spend my day, what do you think?
A Seed To Plant: Take some time to sit and make a list of things in your world that are beautiful and joyful and then go about the duty of delighting in them instead of stewing over problems you can’t solve. It is perhaps the most important work we can do!
Blessings on your day!
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