“What Would You Have Me Do for You?”

January 30, 2018 in Inspirational

Recently, I was honored by my former High School and inducted into the Unatego Hall of Distinction for my work in writing and publishing. It was a tender moment for me, an opportunity to reconnect with old friends who are still dear to my heart, and to make new friends as well.  During the day, I had a chance to speak to three of the current high school classes about the work I do.  Since I was born and raised in a small upstate New York town, I was asked by one of the teachers to help the students understand how it is possible to come from humble roots and still make your mark in the world.  I thought that was a good question and so as I spoke to the students, I found myself suddenly 17 again, sitting in a classroom and wondering what could possibly be beyond those walls. Back then, I wanted to be a teacher and I hoped somehow to have a positive effect on the people around me.

I gave them a brief glimpse of my journey from teacher, to the greeting card industry, and on to publishing. I realize that we may each measure success differently, but the thing that is important is to recognize our own talents and strengths, and then do what we can to make a difference in the world.  As I said to the students, “It’s not where you come from that matters.  It’s about where you want to go.” All of this brings me full circle to the Gospel story of Jesus and the blind man.  Jesus asks the man, “What would you have me do for you?”  Now, most of us would think it’s obvious.  The man wants to see, he wants to have his eyes opened.  Or is it?

Here’s my thought.  I think we can get complacent about life. We can give ourselves excuses about why we didn’t become what we meant to become, or why we never accomplished our goals. We can be blind to those things that seem obvious to others.  We can imagine that we’re out of time or out of possibility.  I would challenge us to rethink that.  I would challenge all of us to get more curious about who we are and seek to have our eyes opened so that we could see more clearly all that we still can be.

I know for myself, I’m just at the starting gate.  I’m still curious about what else God has for me.  I want Him to touch my heart in a way that gives me a panoramic view of all that I can accomplish.  When I think that way, I’m rejuvenated, 17 again, willing to risk and try and fail and if I’m lucky, perhaps even be successful.  I’m still working on the answer that I would give if Jesus asked me, “What would you have me do for you?”  Maybe you are too!


A Clean Slate or a Blank Slate?

January 23, 2010 in Inspirational

Sometimes we fantasize about what we would do if we could simply start all over again.  We’d make better choices.  We’d marry or we wouldn’t.  We’d work in big corporations or we’d be the competition. Our imaginations go wild when we think about what we could do with a blank slate.

A blank slate is intriguing, much like facing a blank page if you’re a writer.  You have to imagine somewhere inside you what that page might become, how it might offer something new, who might benefit from seeing it.  A blank slate brings the challenge of creating something new, something that wasn’t part of the mix of things before.

For me, a clean slate is actually a better proposition though.  A clean slate is what we are offered every morning when we rise from our reverie.   God said He would make us new every morning, and in His Son we have a clean slate, a chance to start again whenever we want.  We’re not left with just an empty page, or a whitewashed board. We have a space to start anew any time we choose.  I like the idea of a clean slate because I know that something was on that slate before and it was gently washed away.  It was erased so I can try again based on the information I have now.  It’s letting go of yesterday in a way that brings forgiveness to those that injured me or where I may have frustrated someone else.  It’s giving room for growth and new perspective.  It’s a spreadsheet of possibility because the God of the Universe has  infinite ways for each of us to become more with each breath, to take our slate and and try again.

We find comfort in knowing that some things have already been tried and learned and that some things are best left behind.  The clean slate looks with love at everyone and everything because it has enough information to realize that each person is a student in the world, each one is learning something new, needing direction and advice, and a bigger light to see just where to turn.  God’s students are never finished learning, no matter what their age or status.

It’s a new day and we have the experience of life to recognize those things that make a difference, like kindness and generosity, sympathy and compassion.  Because we have the fruit of the spirit within us we can start the day with renewed energy, gentle spirits, fervent hopes and a willingness to give ourselves and others a break.  A clean slate every morning means we’re not stuck on yesterday, we’re not left simply to deal with our bad habits and to put up with those of others.  A  clean slate says that if we choose, we can write a whole new story today, paint a very different picture, make the world a better place, at least from where we stand.

Okay, we have all we need then.  The forgiveness from the One who loves us and provides a new morning, the wisdom to let go of yesterday, and the gift of becoming something new and better today.  How blessed we are!  Okay, chalk in hand, new opportunity, let’s create the day!