Our pastor told a story this past Sunday about a funeral procession that is totally unrelated to this blog. However, I thought his story made a perfect title so I’m stealing it. Do you think I could get in trouble for plagiarizing part of a sermon? Seems dangerous. At any rate, I’m taking my chances. Aren’t you curious how I’m going to work the title into this blog?
My birthday was over the weekend. I’m thirty-six. I had a one of those birthday celebrations that lasted all week, lunches and dinners and even a birthday breakfast. My spouse spoiled me. My friends and family wrapped gifts and wrote cards. My daughter got me flowers. My sister bought me an outfit that I would not have picked. I loved it. I got a ton of compliments. I may make her pick all my clothing from now on. I ate banana cream cake with white chocolate frosting. I ate cherry chip cake with lemon frosting. I ate chocolate caramel cake with toffee frosting. I really must run more.
Last year on my birthday my mother informed me that I was halfway to seventy. This year she told me I was closer to seventy than to zero. I’m not sure if she just likes math games or if she enjoys seeing me stricken. It did cause me to pause and take stock. I made a mental list of things to be grateful for in my thirty-sixth year. Friends and family, health and home, Grace and generosity. I ran down a painful list of things I’d rather not be a part of next year; arguments and misunderstandings, imbalanced priorities.
So this whole birthday week I couldn’t shake the sermon story or the image of a big ol’ bike following a big’ ol Hearse. It struck me that frequently in life I do this very thing; put a whole lot of effort and money and time into chasing things that only lead to dead places. I’m going to focus this year on where I’m headed. How about you?
It’s my birthday. I’m thirty five. This is a very stable and confident sounding number. It’s also halfway to seventy. My maternal grandmother who is ninety one tells me that 70 is young. I appreciate the encouragement.
I’ve always been the kind of person who thrives on atta girls. I had a report card one time that actually said “needs too much encouragement. Can’t work without outside approval”. People say that those with a healthy self esteem don’t need others to prop them up. While I understand this theory, I actually think this is completely ridiculous. Last night, running around the track in the dark I totally would have quit when I got a stomach ache had it not been for the amazing marathon runner beside me urging me on. Encouragement keeps us moving foward. It can keep us holding on when we don’t see a way through the dark.
Growing up, I loved the days at school where mom had put a note in my lunch box. I got a note from her today.
I’m blessed today with facebook messages, texts, emails and I even got a fax. This kind of encouragement just makes me smile.
I was missing my paternal grandmother today. She died on New Years day, just nine months ago. She never missed a single birthday my entire life. She also never skipped sending thank you notes or congratulations cards. I’m sure my love for the written note comes from Grandma. This note sits above my desk.
When I’m frustrated with parenting or feel like I’ve blown it, I read this note and remember I come from good stuff.
I blogged last week about my teacher who gave me frowns all year. This note showed up with a whole page of sticker smiley faces attached.
My daughter gave me one of my all time favorite encouragement notes.
It really does come down to that. I love you. That’s what people want to know. Take a minute today, write a note. Tell someone you love them. Encourage them on.
My 91 year old grandmother has alzheimers. She is doing well. Still knows who we are. Still tells us she loves us. We’ve been writing her notes. Someday she’s going to hear the the best words of encouragement ever spoken. Word from her Creator. “Well Done, Good and Faithful Servant”.
Be encouraged today.