A Vow to Soften

I did not write this. It came to me from a friend and was written by Rachel Macy Stafford.  I found words in it to make my own.  I think there is something here for everyone to take to heart.  Read and see if I’m right.

 

My Vow to Soften

I’ve had enough of my hard edges.

I’m tired of straining my voice.

I’d like to loosen up and laugh a little more,

Be a positive rather than a negative.

 

I’d like to feel the upward curve of my lips.

I’d like to surrender control of things in which I have no control.

I’d like to let things unfold in their own time, in their own way.

I’d like to participate joyfully in this fleeting life.

 

I’d like to be softer

Towards him,

Towards her,

Towards me.

 

And this is my vow:

I vow to listen to opinions – I don’t always have to be right.

I don’t always have to agree or have the last word.

 

I vow to hand over the hairbrush, the pile of laundry, the school project,

The task before us. “How would you do it?” I will ask.

I vow to step aside and respect a new approach.

Success might be difficult to see at first; I vow to keep looking.

I vow to be more accepting of quirks and mannerisms.

I vow to be more accepting of tastes and styles unlike my own.

 

I vow to remember he is in the process of becoming; she is in the process of finding her way.

And they are more apt to do it if I stop telling them how.

 

I vow to regard “weaknesses” as hidden strengths.

Inner gifts can be nurtured when I stop plotting ways to alter, change, and “improve”.

 

I vow to greet my family and myself with a loving smile, no matter what happened yesterday.

Grudge holding only hurts us all.

I vow to pause before correcting.

I shall take a moment to consider if the mistake even needs to be mentioned at all.

I vow to stop nitpicking until it bleeds.

I vow to demand less and inquire more.

 

I vow to listen

Consider

And expand my thinking.

 

I vow to be a voice of encouragement in a demeaning world.

I vow to be a silver lining spotter in my family’s little world.

I vow to be softer today than I was yesterday – a softer voice, a softer posture, a softer touch, a softer thought, a softer timetable.

 

 

I vow to be softer towards the imperfect human being inside me and beside me.

 

By being softer, I can hear more, learn more, feel more, and love more.

At last I will fully see.

I will see his colors.

I will see her colors.

I will see my colors.

Perhaps for the very first time.

 

The colors might take my breath away,

Bring me to tears

And offer long-awaited peace.

 

I shall soften in order to illuminate the colors of the soul.

I shall soften so the human being within me and beside me can shine.

 

©Rachel Macy Stafford 2016

 

 

 

 

Those Standout Moments

a happy wave of nostalgia
a happy wave of nostalgia

Don’t you know there are those times that become prominent, for one reason or another, and they stick in your mind like something that sparkles, or maybe like a flashing red light? My mind only has so much room in it and normally I want to save that space for stuff I’m really going to need, so one of the things I like to do is ask for God’s watchfulness over my mind each day.  I want him to be in charge of what looms large and what goes by the way. He knows me and he does a good job.

Three things that have been standout (is that a word?) moments recently:

This week there was a community garage sale in the neighborhood where one of my clients lives. My cousin and her husband shop these events and are masters at finding interesting things. They were at my client’s house when I arrived and started talking about what bargains they had scored.  Jerry had bought a large jar (water cooler size) full of marbles. Unbeknownst to most people, I have a inner fondness for marbles that I can’t explain, except that it reminds me of happy childhood times.  Kids today don’t know that you can get hours of fun and interaction with other people through marbles. They are antiques. When the snow would melt in the spring, our school grounds became pocked with marble holes and each recess was time to either lose or gain valuable marbles depending on your skill. Each long bus ride was a constant barter of boulders of various kinds, games of “odds or evens”. There was a whole language built around marbles, most of which I cannot remember now. I had a precious collection that I would hide around the house (because I had brothers). I don’t know what became of that bag of cat’s eyes and purees – did I outgrow my interest or did I lose them, forget where I’d hid them? Jerry took me out to his car and gave me some marbles and I felt like treasure had come home to me.  A standout moment.

Yesterday there was a knock on the door.  A young man I have known since he was an adolescent was standing there, wiping the sweat off his head because he had come on his bike and it was a warm day. The last few years I haven’t heard from him often – pretty much only when he needs money, which was why he had come this time too. He was moving north, taking a bus.  His mom had given him the money for the ticket which was all she could afford. She felt he needed to start new in a different place, but he had nothing for the trip. I listened to his story, we talked about his inability to thrive in spite of his talent, we talked about the faint odor of alcohol he exuded.  I don’t know where God is taking him – or just letting him go – but I felt kindness was required of me.  I gave him money. He let me pray for him and tearfully asked if I would continue to pray for him every day.  I made a promise.  This moment needs to standout so that I can keep that promise.

My inbox is constantly chiming at me because I’m permanently attached to my phone. Most of what comes in is junk mail, just like my old fashioned “snail mail” box.  But this morning there was a note from a family member.  Two sentences of sweet encouragement, which prove to me how much we can do to keep each other going forward.  Thank you MP, for acting on an impulse that was God inspired, no doubt. I love you too.

Three moments out of many that I could have included. Three is a good number and as I said, God does a good job of giving me things to think about and remember.