I recently ran across this image and it made me stop and think (and that’s rare occasion these days :)) .
I could imagine a lot of ways that I was already impressing my 5-year-old self. She wasn’t too hard to please. I could work a little more on my princess twirls and creative outlets, but I was having a hard time visualizing what my 85 year-old-self would perhaps suggest I improve.
That same night I saw this image, we were late to an engagement and race-dropped (yes, that’s a thing) our toddlers off at my mother-in-law’s house. One child had soiled underwear; the other was on the verge of a no nap/ no food breakdown. We had time to shout where the diapers and blankets were before rushing out the door. She, unbeknownst to me, was already watching 3 other children (under the age of 5), had the oven beeping with something she needed to tend to, and had no specific time when any of us would be back to pick them up. I left in awe! She made it seem like no big deal. Were I in her shoes, I know I would have some words about the inconvenient drop-off situation.
The real impressive part was when we came back (at almost midnight). We were talking about how the night went and the conversation went something like this:
“How did the kids do tonight?”
“They were great.”
“Were there any melt downs or battles?”
“Really?? I mean, they were really tired and on the verge of crazy when we raced out of here.”
“There were a few tiny things, but nothing big.”
She shared a few fun things they did and some cute interactions. As I went to bed, I thought how compassionate she was with her words. I could have pushed for more details of the ‘little things’, but that’s not the feeling she wanted to share about the night. Because of her choice in words, she left me feeling just fine about my crazy day of mothering. She was trying to make me feel my best. And it worked.
I recently heard the thought that one way to demonstrate love and compassion for neighbors is by being generous & charitable with our thoughts and words.
Although she is nowhere near 85, I now had a clear picture of a way that I could impress an older and wiser version of myself. If I could be more compassionate and charitable with my thoughts and words, what a lovely and kind influence I could be to those around me, to those I hold so dear, to those who may need it more than I know. For her it doesn’t seem like something she has to constantly think about. It appears to just be part of her soul, making extending charitable thoughts and merciful words to everyone as easy and natural as can be.
My goal is set. I am forever grateful for her compassionate example. I’m so glad she makes room in her life for me and my children. “Love is making space in your life for someone else”.
As I pondered on the peace that this experience brought me, at a time when I could have been filled with anxiety or stress, I thought of the ultimate example of peace, the #PrinceOfPeace and the perfect compassion that He emulates. As we approach the Easter season, I leave you with this beautiful video in hopes that we can all emulate these characteristics of peace just a little more this year. And if you want to learn more about making Easter more meaningful for your family this year, you can find more about the video here.