While getting ready for my son's baseball game yesterday, I was watching the John Wooden memorial service. What an amazing man. After he passed away, I remember hearing bits and pieces about his life on ESPN. At 2 am. Yes, our bedroom tv is on all night...usually on ESPN. Jealous?
I remember hearing that after his wife Nell died in 1985, he would write love letters to her and place them atop her pillow. Apparently when he died, there were stacks of them found wrapped with yellow ribbons. Amazing.
I had an art teacher in college who told us he gave his wife roses every Friday after their wedding day. I remember raising my hand and asking, "Every Friday? What if you had the flu one particular Friday?"
"Every Friday," was his answer.
His wife happened to work at a nearby art store. When I showed up one day to buy a set of colored pencils, I had to ask her if the story was true.
"Yes, it's true," she said with a smile. Her wrinkles highlighting her sweet eyes.
Utterly amazing, I thought. Ed's lucky if he gets his dry cleaning picked up every other Friday. Sad, but true.
Speaking of utterly amazing. I was sitting next to my mother-in-law yesterday at the game. After drinking several huge glasses of water, I mentioned to her that I needed, how do I say, to eliminate the excess water from my body. She pointed out the row of Andy Gumps sitting next to the field. Now, I have a very bad memory, but I do remember being in one of those during a camping trip when I was 7. I remember vowing to never again go in another.
"Oh, no. I can't do that," I said to her.
"I was in this last one on the end yesterday. It's not too bad. I just took some wipes, and wiped it down," she said.
"Nope, can't do it," was my reply.
"Ruthie, do you want me to go in there and wipe it down for you and then you can use it? I'd be happy to. I have the wipes right here," she said.
As the words were coming out of her mouth, I couldn't believe it. Who says this stuff? Who can be so utterly selfless to offer to clean the inside of an Andy Gump so someone can relieve themselves?
I looked at her and said, "Joanne, this offer will go down in the record books of kindness, you know." And no, I didn't take her up on it.
So what am I trying to say? What's something you can offer to someone that would make their day? Their life?
What gifts do you have to give away?
Devotion, flowers, kindness?
I still wonder about my gifts. I know God designed me, and each and every one of you, with particular gifts. I'm sure we all have more than one. Probably a dozen that lie deep within us, that rarely are offered to another.
Last week I offered to help organize my girlfriend's office. I had a blast. She kept looking at me like I was kind of strange to enjoy the process so much. But my "gift" for organizing, if you call it that, when shared with others, can truly touch someone's life.
Do you love to cook? Love to fix things? Love to encourage? Then you have a God-given gift. Maybe make a lasagna and homemade garlic bread and bless a family who's struggling with something. Maybe fix a friend's broken gate so their dog will stop escaping. Maybe write down some scripture on a beautiful card and leave it in the mailbox of someone who desperately needs to see it. Maybe offer to clean a porta-potty for a stranger the next time you're at a baseball field. (Joanne -- you so need a trophy for that one!)
So sit down today or tonight and ask yourself what's beneath your tissue paper and bow.
You are a gift. Give yourself to someone. Make their day. Make their life. And encourage someone else to do the same...