The gift may not be obvious, and it might not come in a pretty package. For me it seems to often come in the form of conviction. Even through strangers, the Spirit opens my eyes to areas of my life that He wants to redeem.
Believe that you n e e d people, and you will become rich.
Just a challenge for you today: extend grace to seemingly obnoxious strangers. Give people the benefit of the doubt. Assume the best.
The driver who cut you off may be distracted by the recent death of a loved one. The grouchy customer service rep may be stressed out by financial or relational turmoil. The telemarketer may have once been a refugee, directly exposed to the unspeakable horror of war. The overbearing co-worker may know abuse that you cannot fathom.
No one’s life is perfect. No one is exempt from the pain and grief of a broken, sin-cursed world. When you find yourself criticizing, complaining, or lashing out…imagine that the person you are dealing with is in the midst of a terrible tragedy. You’ll find it much easier to respond graciously. Treat others the way you’d want to be treated, even if you were behaving unattractively in the face of unfortunate circumstance.
Commit it to memory: there is a gift to be found in every human interaction. You can scoff and reject it, or open your eyes and accept it. The choice is yours.
S i s t e r h o o d . . . possibly one of the most inherently good things I ever talk about here, at The Realization of Good. 🙂 It’s also probably one of the first, oldest things I’ve realized as good–beginning way back at the ripe old age of, let’s see, 3 years old–when the first of my sisters was born.
These ladies–Carli, Mindy, and Krista, from left to right–are the three most important females in my life. We have the same blood coursing through our veins. We were raised by the same parents and all lived under the same roof for nine years of our lives. We share DNA, which includes horrid eyebrows and sunburn-prone skin, but also green eyes and natural highlights. Additionally, we share an appreciation for the outdoors and the arts, a super quirky sense of humor, OCD tendencies, an obnoxiously loud laugh, an over-the-top enthusiasm for Settlers of Catan (and board games in general), and a love for little kids.
We have one brother. The five of us have been through a lot of life and drama and fun and fear and tears and joy and laughter together. We are tight. We stick up for each other. Every single one of us would fight to the death for one of the others. Let me tell you, life as one of five siblings is rich and full. Also loud. But we love it.
These kids have had to put up with a lot of bossing and unwarranted advice from their oldest sister…I’m a classic Type-A firstborn, and my sisters know that better than anyone. (When I read this to them, all three of them simultaneous yelled “yup” here.) But they also know my fiercely protective side, and I can be quite the mama bear when it comes to someone messing with these girls.
Through it all, we’ve bonded like only sisters can do. Each day, we cherish a little more the sisterhood we share. We get each other because first, in so many ways, yes, we are similar. Yet in our differences, there is much we are learning (and have yet to learn) from each other.
Krista is the kind and caring one. She inspires me on a daily basis with her unconditional love for every person she comes into contact with. Carli is the disciplined one. She gets up before dawn and gets stuff accomplished while the rest of us are asleep. Diligent is her middle name. Her heart is gold, and she makes people laugh. And Mindy? Well, for one thing, she stole all the athletic genes, at least among us girls. She’s the baby, but she’s the furthest thing from entitled, and she’s sometimes more responsible than the rest of us combined.
So much love. Just so much love in my heart for these women.
We’ve been separated too much of the time for too many different reasons over the last six years, but it’s only strengthened our bond and made us appreciate each other more. I don’t take the relationships I have with my siblings for granted. They are gifts straight from Heaven. We are growing older and becoming involved in more and different things, but we still come back and build off of the foundation of what we’ve always had in common: family.
Krista spent the summer in Belize, and Carli got to take a trip to El Salvador with her Spanish class from school a couple weeks ago. Last week, they both returned, and what a happy reunion we had (as evidenced by the top picture). There’s nothing quite like letting it all hang loose with the ones who know you best, and at the end of the day, going to bed knowing they love you no less. This is an incredible gift, and I acknowledge it. Today I’m filled with gratitude for the blessing of sisterhood.