My mother is a card-giver. Sometimes she sends them for a special occasion, and with our family size we have many of those. Sometimes, she clips out a magazine article or cartoon and feels compelled to pass it on. Sometimes she sends one “just cuz.” Whatever the reason, I always pay attention to her cards because there’s nearly always a special message within them.
Recently, I received one with this message:
“Without even knowing it,
your faith is a shining light
touching those close to you
and even those who do not know your name.
That last line struck me, especially as a writer, author and blogger. I can’t, and don’t, always know the effects of my writing. A while back I came to a place of contentment about this: that the writing is up to me, and whom the writing touches and how (or whether it effects anyone at all) is largely up to God. I can’t even begin to comprehend how my words may or may not resonate with someone on a particular day. It depends, of course, on the recipient and his or her circumstances. All I can do is work on being the healthiest person I can be so that I can channel the very best thoughts and messages God has brought to my attention through His varied means.
This is the way I view writing. I see it as an extension of my faith, which is why I haven’t been able to successfully separate the two. I wouldn’t want to, really, but sometimes I am called to do that, especially when writing for secular publications. I also recognize that most people, faith-filled or not, don’t want to be beaten over the head with a message. So I try (though not always successfully, I’m sure) to offer up the message on my heart in the most gentle way possible. It is very hard to convince people by beating them over the head. That’s why Jesus spoke in parables. He relayed his message largely through stories. He didn’t mince words, but neither was it His mission to condemn. His mission was to love. That is what I want my mission to be as well, and I know I can do it much more effectively by shining rather than shouting.
Recently I’ve had a chance to observe a few other special people shining. Last night we attended the vigil service of my husband’s former boss, Marguerite Mowry of Marguerite’s Music in Moorhead, MN. Marguerite became something of a legend in starting and operating a successful music business, the largest of its kind in the region. It was heartening hearing her customers and friends talk about her last night, telling of the many ways she shined brightly to them. Marguerite was very attentive to her customers, though she’d frisk them, too, if she thought they might be suspect. She had quite the sense of humor and seemed drawn in a special way to kids. She used to call my husband “Grumpy” because of his sunny disposition around customers. Anyone who knew her knew she was extraordinary.
Another friend who is in ill health is beginning to show signs that recovery may not happen. She’s now making some tough decisions as she faces whatever might be ahead. This friend is a particularly bright presence, and as a mother and friend, her shining had only begun, it seems. I’m still trying to process the thought that her light on earth might soon be diminished. I’m also looking for ways to help her shine while she still can, because I know she’s not even close to being done with the message she’s here to share.
We are all here on this earth for a purpose, and as I’m reminded so often, and have been again in a poignant way this weekend, our time is fleeting, like a mist, a vapor, according to the apostle James. “There’s but a heartbeat between you and eternity,” a pastor shared at a business luncheon I attended yesterday. “We should not assume that we’ll have tomorrow.”
These things coming together as they have in my life recently – the awareness of soul light (including my own) and my own impending earthly demise – make what I share all the more urgent. It also makes what I do to increase the intensity of my unique life-light all the more relevant.
What are your sunny summer plans? And by that I mean, what do you plan to do to increase the intensity of your brilliance capacity and output?
“Ye are the light of the world.
A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid.
Neither do men light a candle,
And put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick;
And it giveth light unto all that are in the house.
Let your light so shine before men,
That they may see your good works,
And glorify your Father which is in heaven.” – Matthew 5:14-16