Just some early morning thoughts from me to you…
“Your life is an occasion—rise to it!” Mr. Magorian’s Wonder Emporium
Messages like that—well, you just want to replay them over and over. Maybe even wish you could go back in your own life, and begin again at some point—embracing that message for your life. Things might have been better—easier—more fun. But beginning on this beautiful new morning, messages like that are the messages we should want to convey to those around us—to our children who will take their cues as to their value and worth from you and from me—and to others we have an impact upon.
Messages like that—and others, both positive and negative—will set the course for the lives of those around you, including your children, your spouse, all those whom God has entrusted to your care. And sadly, we don’t often have the best example in our own lives from our own past, upon which to draw.
But here we are anyway, with new lives in front of us. What will we do with them? The same that was done to us…or better?
There was a doctor—a surgeon—in upstate New York who was awakened late one night by another doctor calling to ask the surgeon if he could come to the hospital to perform surgery on a young boy. He said there was no one else in town who could perform that surgery.
The surgeon, of course, agreed to go, quickly got dressed, got in his car and started down the street. Several blocks down the street, while waiting for a traffic light to change, his door suddenly opened and there stood a man with a revolver, a rather desperate-looking man, wearing a brown leather jacket and a cap pulled down tightly almost over his eyes, as if to hide his identity.
The man started to pull the surgeon out of the car and the surgeon pleaded, “I’ve got to have the car!” The man said “I’ve got to have the car, and now!” And he jerked the surgeon out, and drove off with the surgeon’s car.
By the time the surgeon arrived at the hospital, the doctor who had called him was waiting at the curbside to tell him the boy had died. The surgeon tried to explain the delay and the doctor said, “I know you tried to get here, his parents know that you tried to get here; you were the only one who could have performed the surgery, and unfortunately, it’s too late. However, the boy’s parents will want to speak to you.”
And so the surgeon went into the waiting room to meet the dead boy’s parents. The boy’s mother, sitting there crying, and beside her the dead boy’s father, wearing a brown leather jacket and a cap pulled down tightly almost over his eyes.
That man had shoved out of his life the only one who could have saved his son. And with it he threw away his child’s life.
And it happens all the time; often where you would least expect it. Or you should least expect it to happen.
It probably won’t be anything quite so dramatic as that true story which will take place in our lives—with our children—or those others for whom we will have the opportunity to make a difference.
Yet every day we have the opportunity to save the lives, or shove out the lives, of those around us. It is especially true though with our children—not necessarily in such dramatic ways—but in much smaller bytes than life or death, yet having just such a profoundly similar impact on their lives through the overall cumulative effect of our messages.
Every day, in communities where you would expect it—and least expect it—we shove them out of our lives. In nice neighborhoods and not-so-nice. Our actions, words, tones, smiles or frowns either tell them that “their life is an occasion—rise to it”, or they tell them something else.
What was the message you got when you were a child? If it seemed to come from the God Who loved and created you—good—you have a good foundation to work from. If it was something less than you deserved in the eyes of the One Who created you—I’m sorry. But unless you recognize, admit, break, get-over, forgive and move past its destructive cycle—it will be repeated in the lives of those around you—especially those who are most vulnerable around you.
Over and over by our words, our demeanor, our response to adversity, our choices through the time we spend with them or someone else, through our frowns or our smiles—we convey to our children and others we influence, our perception of their value. We teach them thorough our own actions and messages, how to deal with adversity, disappointment and challenges. And, in all of that, through all those messages, whatever they are, we tell them whether or not their life is a wonderful occasion to rise to—or not.
And, most likely, your legacy will be determined by the way they turn out. Our treatment of, and example to them, will leave a trail of bread crumbs right back to our doors. Because their lives will mirror the way you did those things, how you spoke to them, whether they saw more smiles or frowns coming from your face, or whether they view the life that hits them moment-by-moment with a “half-empty or half-full” approach. Dill pickle approach? Or beautiful, big lollipop?
Like it or not—they will become what you are, what you showed them, told them, and demonstrated to them by the allocation of your time for them, by the tenor of your tone when talking with them, the softness and encouragement of your expression when looking at them, and the protective tenderness of your touch when securing their safety, their innocence and hope for the future.
Tell them, show them—whoever they are, younger or older—that “their life is an occasion—rise to it!”
In His Name—Scott
Copyright 2015. Scott L. Whitaker. All rights reserved.