Speak tenderly to them. Let there be kindness in your face, in your eyes, in your smile….

Tonight I am thinking of two ladies who are important to me. Both of them are struggling right now with their health. They both will likely face surgical intervention this week and both have previously struggled with cancer. I can’t imagine the thoughts that go through your mind when you know something is not right….I can just imagine how you fear the worst and wonder what this next phase of the journey might hold….

I also am aware how quickly I have an opinion about what should be done. It comes from my heart for them that aches deeply and wishes somehow they could find relief. I know they both know that I would advocate for them in a heart beat. I know they both have a good head on their shoulders. I trust they will ask for what they need. I want them to feel my love and concern…not all my ideas!

And so, I read the following quote and I think of those who are struggling with health issues. I wonder how it is for you to enter into the lives of those who struggle with issues bigger than our mind or hearts can comprehend at times? I wonder if you also might envision a face of someone who is dear to you that you might want to live out the words of Mother Teresa’s quote: Speak tenderly to them. Let there be kindness in your face, in your eyes, in your smile, in the warmth of your greeting. Always have a cheerful smile. Don’t only give your care, but give your heart as well. ~Mother Teresa

Take a knee….

Today I enjoyed my nephew’s football game in Chicago. Andrew and Ryan give their all to their teams. I have watched them grow in their ability, but even more in their sportsmanship, commitment to their teammates and their respect for their coaches. Today I witnessed their ability, but even more, moments when their awareness of the vulnerability of sports becomes very real.

More than once today everyone on the field was directed “take a knee.” There were a few kids who were not and the coach clearly and directly stated if you were going to be on the field, you will remove your helmets and take a knee out of respect. It was a powerful picture of the importance of stopping and interrupting the game because something bigger is happening. In these instances, the bigger thing was injury.

The picture of these football players removing their helmets and taking a knee was powerful because it is the opposite of being ready to charge into the game, helmet on and in position. It was meaningful to see. Perhaps it had even more meaning because last weekend the teams were taking a knee for my nephew Andrew who dislocated his elbow and was taken off on a stretcher as well.

I will be thinking this week about the scenes I witnessed today. I will be wondering where in my daily routine I need to take a knee out of respect for what is going on around me. I am pretty sure there are times I am distracted and miss the opportunity to pause and wait, even if I can not offer much to a struggle someone around me is having. There is powerful imagery in the waiting and then the clapping that occurs when the injured (or struggling) is able to move from that place.

I did not expect to experience all that is involved in “taking a knee”, but it is a vivid football memory to carry with me. Of that I am sure!