My life so far has been blessed beyond measure! I have great family and friends, including so many in my extended church family. I’ve been fortunate to have had plenty of interesting, wonderful, and challenging life experiences. I have much to reflect on and be grateful during my time off this summer.
One of those recent life experiences was losing my mother to a particularly cruel form of cancer. It was a difficult time for my family, but it was a great blessing to hear story after story of how my mom and dad made a difference in people’s lives.
Some of the stories I heard involved my parents’ impact on friends of mine when I was growing up. My high school days are now well over 40 years old. And yet my parents’ hospitality and kindness are still remembered. Several friends mentioned little things I could barely recall. One of my friends, who has had a career based on his writing talents, recalled my mom commenting on an article he had written for the high school newspaper. She complimented him on not just his story but his writing style. Not only encouraged, he was also impressed she had even read the article of a young high school student. Another friend remembered my mom’s ability to ask questions that went deep but were also non-threatening. She wanted to really understand people and care for them.
A third high school friend remembered a story of a day with my dad. My friend lost his father when he was a young child, so he appreciated my dad taking him fishing with us. My friend was new to fishing and only caught three fish that day. What he remembered was my dad saying he had caught the best crappie, and that was a great fish to catch.
When I told my dad my friend remembered that day, he lit up. My dad vividly remembered and reminded me what happened at the end of the day. When we let my friend off, his front door was locked. Dad said he could come home with us. “No need,” my friend replied. He put down his stuff by the front door, went over to the side of the house, scaled it to the second floor, slid open a window, and climbed in. Soon the front door was open and with a wave my friend grabbed his stuff and disappeared inside. My dad was impressed!
Later my dad asked my friend’s older sister about that. She said because they had a large family, they didn’t have enough keys to give to everyone. They didn’t trust the younger siblings with keys anyway. If they left on their own, they had to find their own way in!
It is a joy remembering that story and others with my dad. The blessing of our little acts of kindness is not just in the impact make on others. My parents have been blessed by all the great memories they have of the many people they cared about.
My parents weren’t kind to my friends so they would have great memories 40 to 50 years later. That’s just who my parents were: kind, hospitable, caring people. They had no clue the impact they were making 40 or 50 years ago. It is an important lesson worth learning from them.
In God’s hands, the little seeds of love and kindness we plant now may grow to bless others and even ourselves in ways we can’t know now in the years to come.
One of the goals I take into this next phase of life is to learn how to live a little more wisely and boldly. I want to encourage us all, especially fellow disciples, to take advantage of the opportunities God gives us in the time He has given us to bless others.