August 27, 2017


Day Twenty-Eight: Reflections from Week 4

This has been quite a week.


I fell behind in my work on the devotional, which had me feeling rather guilty.  But just guilty.  I know I could’ve picked it up and just kept going, but I wanted to keep a system.  Sometimes, being so particular gets in the way of being obedient.  I need to learn to overcome.  As I tell my friend, Cristina, “there’s ideal, and then, there’s what you’ve got.”  Of course, ideally, I would’ve just stayed in my room and worked on my devotional before I started my day.  When the week started, I could’ve caught up.  But playing catch up usually leads to feelings of condemnation or it makes me rush through what I’m doing and I don’t really get much out of the time I spend.  Besides, God deserves better from me than just my obligatory “gotta get this done” attitude.


Then, there’s the news of Robin Williams’ suicide.  I didn’t know the man but, like many people, I grew up watching his stuff and having his comedy reach into my home.  But suicide is one of those things that just breaks my heart.  When I was in the. Navy,we had GMTs (general military training) every month.  One of the first ones I ever conducted was on suicide prevention.  My life has been largely untouched by suicide, though I do know someone who attempted to take her life once.  It was definitely a cry for help.  And shortly thereafter, she started getting help.  She had all kinds of demon as to deal with and, hopefully, she is still dealing with getting those demons under control.


But what about Robin?  I don’t know.  I have watched the news.  I’ve read the statement his wife put out.  But those words don’t sum up the man.  How could they?  They aren’t his.  Working on my Master’s in Christian Counseling, I would love to have had the chance to talk with him and see what he was dealing with and how he was dealing with it.  But mostly, I would’ve loved the chance just to get to know him and let him tell me his story in such a way that he KNEW he had been heard and really understood.  Did he have that?  Was there anybody who was there for him in that capacity?  I sincerely pray there was.  And I sincerely pray he had a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.


But today is supposed to be my time for reflecting on this week.  So, what does the suicide of a man I’ve never met and likely never would’ve, have to do,with me?  Well, folks, we are all connected.  Apathy on the part of one affects the whole.  We’ve all heard the catch phrase “Random Acts of Kindness.”  This week, I had a chance to do something I do everyday.  Not really so random.  However, the response I got shocked me.  A young man waiting on me at place asked me how I was doing.  I answered, with a smile, and asked him the same question in return.  I do this all the time.  But, this guy was surprised that I was returning his kindness.  It made me wonder if I was the first or only person all day to return that kindness.  Why is that?  What has happened to common courtesy?  Or manners?  Or etiquette?  Why should people be surprised when some one holds a door for them?  Or returns a smile or a kind word?  What have we become that we are so self-centered or self-absorbed or busy or jaded to be polite?  To be kind?  To smile?


So…here’s a challenge!  To borrow from one of Robin Williams’ movies, Patch Adams, find someone you see everyday, someone who maybe seems to be having a hard time of things, and smile at them.  Every time you see them.  Whether you get the smile back or not.  See what happens!


Countless stories have been told by people who did not  commit suicide be cause, they said, someone was nice to them the day they were contemplating committing suicide.  Because someone asked them how they were.  Because someone smiled at them.  You never know if you might be the difference in that person’s life that day!


How about this:  spend the entire week just doing unto others as you would have them do unto you.  See how it works.  See how you feel after a week.