As I watch, the trees spread a golden carpet on the front lawn. Autumn marches forward as I try to treasure each beautiful day. Because, “Isn’t the present moment worth celebrating?” (Christy Purifoy)
In early August, as somewhat of a parting gift, she handed me the package, this friend who was moving miles away. Though different in vocation and ministry, we were kindred spirits almost from the beginning. We liked the same books, we cooked and made home for family and others, we loved the color blue, we shared a deep faith, and our conversation was easy.
Her token was a small journal with her handwritten note that read, “I encourage you to gift the world with your godly wisdom . . . you have much to share . . . “
And I wondered at the moment, as I still do, what do I have to share, what do I offer, what words linger after they are spoken?
I remember wisdom coming from the lips and lives of mentors in my younger life, my dear mother, my aunt, my grandmother whose words came second hand because she died when I was two, and a former school teacher, who nurtured me long and encouraged me each time I left with the words, “You’re a good girl.”
Wisdom came to me through authors and teachers and the study of the Word of Truth. It has come through experiences, falling down and getting up, success and failure, learning to say “I’m sorry,” and “I forgive you.” It comes by hearing another speak, evaluating the message and grasping the truth.
At first glance at my friend’s words, I could not think of any particular wisdom I have. The wise words I hold are from other sources so how can I claim to possess them as my own? I suppose I offer what was once held out to me, not forced upon me but gently presented, to accept or not.
Perhaps that is the first wisdom to recall and record in the small blue journal.
The weeks passed and my friend is settled into her home in another state. I keep the journal on my desk where I can record my thoughts, because if she thinks I am wise, then let me rise to that occasion.
I bestow a handful of the entries here.
- Wisdom can be offered but not forced upon another, as it should be. We examine what another says to see if the Holy Spirit quickens it to us, if it resonates with what He is already speaking to the heart and if it lines up with the Word of God.
- I am never sorry I showed up for someone, whether it be a celebration or a grief. No words are needed. My presence is sufficient.
- Listening is a super power. More of us should learn and practice it.
- If I think I’m becoming more humble, then maybe I’m not.
- Words matter. Which ones I choose and how I use them make an impact. Profanity is a rustic crutch to express an opinion or thought. There are more creative words that can relay my meaning and relay it better. Use a Thesaurus.
- Beauty is always present in a smile and a joyful countenance.
- Practicing empathy has an immense ability to promote understanding.
- I don’t want to become a grumpy old woman. The ‘old’ I can’t change, but the ‘grumpy’ is a choice.
- Generally, people don’t really want my advice. They simply want to be heard and for me to try to understand.
Today, as I sat in the booth across from a young mom, steaming coffee and a pumpkin muffin enticing me, I listened as intently as I could. Her experiences were important to her, and so they were important to me. I could identify with things she was saying, because life has a way of teaching us if we are willing to learn. And I want to learn from every joyful and every painful event I endure.
We parted with me having offered little in advice or counsel, but I think she felt heard and understood, and that carries weight for both of us. I continue to learn the art of listening. It is a gift when people share their lives with me. May I never take that lightly. May I hold it tenderly and in confidence.
The book of Proverbs holds a treasure of wisdom, and it says, “. . . the tongue of the wise brings healing,” (12:18).
I continue to write in my blue journal as I discern something recordable, something that may be deep with meaning. Herein lies something of great importantance: “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding,” (Proverbs 9:10).
As leaves fall from trees, wisdom falls all around us, as well as a lot of information that lacks truth, validity, and authenticity.
The choices and practices of my life should be weighed carefully with a heart of wisdom. They form me. They impact those around me. Wisdom is prime. Get wisdom.