Looked After

I lingered too long with my coffee yesterday morning. I planned an Independence Day run in my favorite park but didn’t start as early as intended. Orange cones already lined the street into the park to guide the throngs of firework watchers showing up to stake their claim to the best spots. I maneuvered my car through some of the cones to park in my usual space.

My run started better than expected and I felt good despite the heat. There were more people out and about at the park. Biking, walking, running, or preparing for their picnics. I ran through neighborhoods, around the school, then back to the park.

My run still felt okay but I was hot. I ran on the edge of a parking lot when I nodded to an older gentlemen driving a golf cart. He stopped the cart and motioned to me. I noticed he wore a cap with the park name on it. I wondered if he was an employee.

I walked to the cart and the man asked how long I’d been running. I answered him, then he asked how far I had to go. I told him, “three more miles to reach my goal.”

I must have looked overheated and thirsty. He handed me an ice cold water bottle from his cooler and told me to take it with me. Then he told me to take it slow. I opened the water bottle and drank fast. He looked concerned. I thanked him and turned to walk away. He said, “wait I’m not finished yet.”

He spread a small towel in his lap, filled the middle of it with handfuls of ice, and pulled the corners of the towel up around the ice. He put the “ice bag” behind his neck, on top of his head, under his chin, on his wrists and told me to do the same to cool off. I stood there with the bag behind my neck as he told me to be careful. He warned me of the heat again and I had a fleeting sense of familiarity.

He mentioned how he planned to celebrate later with his family and beamed when he talked about his grand children.

I thanked him again, reached to shake his hand, and asked his name. His eyes brightened, he shook my hand, told me his name, then asked mine.

Before he drove away, he said, “Marie, glad to know you.”

It wasn’t until this morning I discerned the familiarity.

The man on the golf cart reminded me of my father. Not his appearance, but the things he said and how he said them. His makeshift ice bag and demonstration of its most effective use. His going above and beyond in his care about such a small thing as me being too hot.

It was Dad who saw to our wounds when we were stung by yellow jackets or scraped our knees. He did the mean stuff. He dabbed our cuts with iodine or squeezed our splinters to the surface to pull them out with tweezers, and told us to stop whining about it.

As he aged, his care became more tender. More advice and prayers than tending wounds. Moving things or fixing broken ones. Letting us borrow what was his and always helping when he saw a need. Sometimes he helped before I knew I needed help.

Dad looked after us.

I finished my run. I took the man’s advice and slowed down, and it may be the reason I finished. I think it was another one of those times I needed help and didn’t know it.

 

Photo by Arleen wiese on Unsplash

 

Reflection

 As water reflects the face, so one’s life reflects the heart.   Proverbs 27:19 NIV

 

I planned to write more on this and include some thoughts about the end of my devotional readings from Bread and Wine: Readings for Lent and Easter.

 

But the thing about a proverb is it says what it says without needing any help from me.

 

 

Reflecting

Now

image
Right now.

I’m excited and nervous and ready to be there.

But I’m here. Now.

I will run my first Spartan Race tomorrow morning so I’m full of anticipation.

The best thing I can do now is to be all here right now and enjoy it.

Take it in. The excitement and the anticipation of the race. The wondering if I’m prepared. The uneasiness in my stomach. All of it.

That’s all we can do with now. Be here. Be in it and all in it.

I can’t be there yet so I will be fully present here now.

But how many times do I let now pass me by….waiting for tonight or tomorrow or next year….or even worse regretting yesterday or last week or 5 years ago.

And I miss it. The moment.

Now.

It’s gone.

We all have now. Right now. And all of the nows together will make our lives. And each one of them is unique….there’s not another one like it.

The average life will have over 2,200,000,000 of those. That seems plenty until you’ve already experienced over half of them.

I don’t want to miss them.

I’m going to treasure all the moments I get…….every now I can.

The ones when one of my children makes me laugh. The ones I get when driving to work and a favorite song comes on. A beautiful sunrise, a great cup of coffee, a vivid dream.

The ones when I’ve learned or tried something new. The ones when I find out I can do more than I thought I could.

The sweet ones when my husband pulls me tight and hugs me longer.

The late night talks with my children, the early morning ones too. The talk with the neighbor because we were working in our yards at the same time.

The ones when I understand something or find something I thought was lost.

The victorious one when I cross the finish line tomorrow will be a very special moment but the drive to the hotel tonight will have some good ones too.

But right now…….

I’m going to savor the “I can hardly wait” feeling.

“So teach us to number our days
that we may get a heart of wisdom.” Psalm 90:12 ESV

 

In response to the Daily Post’s Discover Challenge Here and Now.

Salty

Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone. Colossians 4:5-6 (NIV)

I don’t make the most of every opportunity. In fact I believe opportunities fly past me as I rush from place to place.

Jesus made the most of every opportunity. He noticed.

Everything.

Jesus would never avoid going down the cereal aisle when he saw your daughter’s friend’s mom coming from the other end.

Instead, Jesus would smile at her as he walked toward her. He would ask her how she was doing. Then Jesus would listen as he looked into her eyes. And he would be genuinely interested in what she was saying. Your daughter’s friend’s mom would leave knowing that she mattered. She would be so uplifted by that short but real conversation that she would go home and do the same for her family.

Then maybe her husband would do the same for his hurting co-worker the next day. And her teen aged daughter might reach out to a lonely classmate.

One conversation with Jesus can change everything.

What if I do the same? What if I take the time to notice? What would happen if I slowed down enough to see those around me. Not just see, but notice. Speak. Listen. Love.

It starts there. With the opportunities. At home. In the grocery store. At the salon. In your neighbor’s yard. At work or church.

imageBe salty. Not in the bitter, aggressive, sassy kind of way.

But in the way that brings out the best in others…..”seasoned with salt” as the verse says.

Someone needs you to see them.

Someone needs you to smile and say hello.

Someone needs you to listen.

Be salty and live like it matters.

Instead

imageJust because you can doesn’t mean you should.

I say this to my kids all the time.

It’s a reminder for me.

I can eat two bowls of salted caramel gelato.

I can watch endless hours of my favorite shows on Netflix.

I can ignore the tattooed girl in line at the cash register or be rude to the neglectful waiter at the restaurant.

I can let my bad mood ruin the day.

I can skip my workout.

I can gossip about my co-worker.

I can do all those things and a thousand others that seemingly have no effect at all.

Who cares if I watch 8 hours of Netflix or stuff myself with my favorite snack or gossip or stay in a bad mood?

The little things matter more than you know. Your habits matter. Your self-control and your kindness and your patience matters. Your simple acknowledgment of the girl in line at the grocery store matters.

And that’s why I’m challenging you to think beyond the things you can do. This is another one of my Live Like It Matters Challenges.

Think about what would be most helpful. Even good allowable things aren’t necessarily the best things. What’s permissible is not always beneficial. This applies to the choices we make every day.

This kind of thinking and doing helps you and others. Because in the long run, you’ll benefit from skipping the 2nd bowl of ice cream. You’ll reap the rewards of going to gym. And you can save yourself and your co-workers a lot of pain when you shut the gossip down.

Instead, I’m going to thoroughly enjoy one bowl of gelato. Watch only one episode on Netflix every now and then.

I’ll be kind to my co-workers and take every opportunity to encourage them.

I’ll be slow to speak when I’m in a bad mood and I’m going to try really hard to remember how good I feel when my workout is over. I’ll make sure to smile at those around me – even the waiter who never refilled my drink.

Because it matters. The little things we do matter.

Make the wiser choices. Think beyond what you can do and live like it matters.

  But the Spirit produces the fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.    Galatians 5:22-23  NCV

In response to the Daily Post’s prompt
Second Thoughts.