Life is a succession of lessons which must be lived to be understood.”~ Helen Keller
The Green Shoe Laces
Yes, it was recently my birthday, and yes, I am 59!!! I will never be like the ones who are 39 and holding--those who hesitate stepping into the 40’s.
See, when you have been through a somewhat major medical “happening” in your life, you prefer not to “hold” at any age, but instead to cherish every passing year that moves you forward in life (even if it does take you towards old age J).
But having said that, I would like to take a moment to explain my “birthday” feelings over this past year. For the most part, I am not a January 1st Make-a-New-Year’s-Resolution-Kind-of-Girl. Quite frankly, I cannot keep a list of resolutions, and therefore, why stress even declaring them?! But I do take my birthday as a time make reflections, if not really resolutions. My birthday becomes somewhat of a time of self-evaluation. I pause to make reflections about my previous year and make a commitment to have more purpose in the year to come.
I carefully take out a large measuring stick of my own design and assess if my actions have truly measured up over the past 365 days. As I honestly evaluate and measure, sometimes it is apparent that my daily actions need some tweaking!!!!
This past year I purposed to become more of a quiet encourager. And I realized throughout the past year that sometimes our encouraging comes like an arrow we carefully aim, release, and it hits its target. But I also learned that encouragement need not always be so strategic.
It does not have to be what pointedly, decidedly, and rapidly takes wings through the air. It can be a soft smile, a quiet laugh, or a gentle hug wrapped in tenderness. I even learned this past weekend that it can be the green shoelaces that you wear when you don’t feel the need!!!
See, my daughter was organizing a 5K run in Savannah, and I went to assist. Alright, assist is used broadly. The truth be told, I went to Savannah for time well spent with my two precious grandchildren!!!
For the past 3 years my daughter has coordinated this event to raise money for the Leukemia Lymphoma Society. It is notably touching and a special privilege to witness her efforts and participate in such a worthwhile cause. A unique thing about the 5K Run is that if you are a blood cancer survivor or any other cancer survivor you are asked to wear green shoe laces so that others will be aware of your plight.
Two years ago, I ran the 5K wearing my green laces, but this year I just kept up with my two grandchildren and elected not to run. I actually had green shoe laces in my hands earlier to wear at the race, but I did not because…
Well, in my heart and mind, I have put the cancer experience behind me. I really am blessed to be beyond that part of my life – being past those particular “birthday years.” I have no present need for words of encouragement or hugs to remind me of where I came from or what I went through. So on race day, I was just going to enjoy being part of the crowd, and furthermore, enjoy not wearing any green shoe laces for all of the people to see.
But this is where I erred. See, it’s not always about me or what I enjoy or what I want… especially if I have purposed myself to be an encourager to others. Rather it’s about those who stand in need of our encouragement. It’s about those in the battle who are weary from their fight.
See, encouraging is not always about what we feel the need to say or do. It’s about us being sensitive and sharing the success of our plight, wherever we are.
I missed an opportunity that Saturday, and I realized it.
Someone in the crowd that morning could have eyed me playing with my grandchildren, conversed with me about my snail’s pace, or even chuckled as I stumbled over a wall. And they may have been encouraged by my green shoe laces. This is just a note to remind all of us…let’s don’t miss these green shoe lace moments—let’s encourage those around us and recognize our purpose is to give of ourselves, our words, our time, and our joy!