Life is such a hoot, isn’t it? Like the Sinatra song goes, “That’s Life.” Every life has its ups and downs, people that kick us when we’re down and others that lift us up, and situations that “feel” right and end up “wrong.” Today’s headlines reflect that nothing much has really changed with the species of Human Being since Cain killed Abel.
An old seminary story goes like this.
A graduate, names Charles, excited and on fire for the Lord and spreading a message of love, hope and peace to the uneducated world, left school sure that he and his new wife would make a huge difference. One of his teachers, a man who’d also become a friend, counseled him at the graduation party.
“Remember to say, ‘Here I am, Lord’ and then let the Lord do the rest. He will make sure that every need is met and you won’t be burned out in five years.”
Well, Charles and his bride went off to region after region of non-Christian communities and taught them about the love of Christ. They begged, borrowed and built schools, dug wells, and brought in medical training for villages. However, in year five, Charles and Nadia returned to the U.S. in ill-health and resigned to the fact that they were failures. With no money to their name, Charles reached out to his mentor and friend for a lift from the airport and a place to stay until he could find paying work.
The mentor collected them and hugged them warmly, placing their two bags in the car and took them to his home. After long showers, a bowl of stew and some hot biscuits, the couple settled in the den with their friend.
“So, how are you two? I’ve been praying for you every day. Your last letter sounded like you were so busy, I had to take a nap after reading it. Did you do all that the Lord asked you to do?”
The wife looked at her husband, then replied. “I believe that we did. But apparently, it wasn’t enough.”
The mentor nodded and looked at the grad. “Is that how you feel, Charles?“
Charles nodded, his gaze on the floor. “Day in, day out, mosquitoes the size of airplanes, sickness, babies dying, no water–” His eyes were moist when he looked at his friend. “They didn’t change.”
“I see,” said the teacher.
They sat in the quiet for few moment when Nadia asked, “What more could we have done?” She took her husband’s hand in hers and they waited for a reply.
The teacher smiled. “You can still do it,” he said kindly. “Have faith that God the Father was at work, too. We can only do what we’re told to do. The results of those activities are God’s work, not ours.”
While the world is feeling crazy to most of us, we can still be steady in who we are. Our reactions and attitudes are directly within our control but changing others is not. Never has been. Each and every kindness we show, kind word we offer, donation we can make in time, talent or treasure will be used by our creator to make a difference to someone. President Abraham Lincoln, the president that established Thanksgiving in this nation, once said: “I would rather be a little nobody than an evil somebody.” Me, too.
One of my very good friends gave me a beautiful wooden sign that hangs in my office: “Your talent is God’s gift to you. What you do with it is your gift back to God.” It reminds me daily that I am in control of what I think, do, and say. I can be a light or a dark cloud – and I don’t have to think too long about which the Lord would prefer I be.
Keep reading, writing, and sharing yourself in the world! You are awesome and your words have power. I urge all of us writers to choose-and use-them wisely. I bet we can help shape a kinder world.