Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Today's Inspirational Message

Let me tell you two stories.

Story number one is about a precious college friend of mine who has a special gift for kindness. One of the ways that she makes the people in her life feel loved is through little love notes and kind messages. When we were in college together, more times than I can count, she lifted my day and brightened my world with her sweet words.

When she was engaged her soon-to-be husband did an internship across the country. In this pre-internet (or just bare beginning of internet) era, most of their communication took place via old fashioned letters. After sending a few letters to him, my friend was startled to receive them back, corrected and marked up with red ink.

My friend is a woman of many, many talents, but spelling is perhaps not her strongest point. Her fiance wanted to help her overcome this perceived deficiency, and thought this was a reasonable way to go about it.

However, she was embarrassed and suddenly self-conscious. The stream of notes and messages instantly dried up. I was selfishly angry at her fiance, not only for hurting my friend's feelings, but because I missed her notes! Her expressions of love had blessed my life immensely, and I was irritated that someone else would belittle something I cherished.

Now, before anyone starts bashing the fiance, please understand that we were all very young, still very much learning about relationships and people and life. While heavy-handed and somewhat patronizing, her fiance had good intentions. They eventually worked through this, they married and are still married, and I am once again the recipient of her kind little notes, for which I am deeply grateful.

Story number two is about one of my beautiful daughters. For the purpose of the story, and to protect her self-confidence when she reads this ten years from now, we'll call her Eve.

Eve has many wonderful talents and abilities, to the point that she often amazes and sometimes scares me. She LOVES to sing, loudly and passionately. She is not, however, always on key.

As her mother, and as a musician with a fair amount of general musical background and some expertise in vocal performance, I can attest that she has become noticeably better over time, and I have every reason to expect that she will continue to become even better as she continues to sing. Her delight in her voice is so evident that it makes me happy just to hear her.

Not very long ago one of her friends was over at our house. Eve began belting out one of her current favorites. Her friend burst into giggles. "Oh my gosh, that is awful! Stop singing! You are so off key!"

Eve stopped. I saw the bewilderment and hurt in her eyes. Her friend looked to me as an ally. "Eve likes to sing, but she's not very on key, is she?"

I looked at my beautiful girl and responded with all the force I could muster, "I LOVE to hear Eve sing. It's one of the happiest things in my life. I can't think of anything more beautiful, or that brings more joy to my heart than hearing Eve sing."

Her friend looked put out. Eve's face broke into a giant smile and she went right back to singing her heart out, loudly and passionately and oh-so-happily.

Here is today's inspirational message:

God gave you a voice so that you could sing. God gave you words so that you could use them. If spelling isn't your strong suit, keep working at it, but don't wait for perfection to share your words. If singing off-key is one of your special talents, try your best to stay on key, but don't keep the song bottled up until you can nail it.

Critics live in a dark and tiny world, where beauty is narrowly defined and becomes much less beautiful for the constrictions placed upon it. You don't belong in that ugly little world.

Joy is infectious. Our world needs more of it. Small-spirited people will always want to stomp out joy. You just keep on being joy anyway.

This message has been brought to you by Psalms 100:2. Go out there and share your gladness!


Liz S said...

I love it Wendy. And so perfect for what I needed to hear today. Thanks for the reminder of living joyously, and not worrying about what others think.

Lewis Family said...

Thank you.

Elizabeth said...

I love your story. I can relate. I had a friend in high school that told me once that "You just should not sing". It hurt so bad that I did not sing for over 20 years. I would sing when no one else was around, but never, ever when anyone could hear me. Then one day my husband heard me and told me what a nice voice I had, and why did I not sing more often. It was very difficult for me. I am now where I can sing in front of my family, but that is about it. I love your story, and how you lifter her up. You are amazing.