The best part about being the owner of this blog is checking my inbox and opening an email with yet another great story that makes me laugh or warms my heart. For some reason the story I’m about to share made me laugh and get choked up all at once so I had to ask myself why…
Perhaps it was because I learned an unexpected lesson in reading it. Perhaps it was because the story is about the kind of person I would like to be. There is a certain type of person that I have always had great admiration for. It is the one who I’ve never heard speak unkindly of others. They stop unkind thoughts before they can be spoken. They don’t take part in gossip and fault-finding no matter how tempting it may be, in fact, they give compliments instead. I hold such respect for these peacemakers because it is something I would love to be better at myself.
Really though, if no one cut me off, or got in the express line at the grocery store with a full cart, or talked on their phone in the movie theater… maybe I would never have any unkind thoughts to think! I guess when everyone is perfect (myself included) there will be no reason for unkind thoughts. Darn, I’ll have to learn to control my thoughts until then:). Small rant over. Now, on to the story you’ve been waiting for…
Thank you Kathie Clifford for sharing this. It amazing how profound lessons can be taught in such simple ways.
This cameo of Mama [Metta Fowler West] took place back in a time when the word “neighborhood” meant you knew everyone down your block and wasn’t just a term inferring a group of houses in one locality. When I was a little girl, neighborhood women got together one day a week at someone or other’s house and quilted. Not only did they quilt, but it was a Pot-Luck lunch as well, and let me tell you those were s-o-m-e pot-lucks!
Now the woman who lived down on the corner of our block was a real disaster. She never saw the bright side of anything and always held a grudge about something or someone. Nevertheless, despite all her “gripes” she came every week to these quilting parties and when she came she always brought the most delicious cake you have ever set a lip to!! Let me tell you those cakes were to die for!
In all the years I (and everyone else) never heard Mama speak an unkind word against a person. She was the kindest, best natured person I have ever met and everyone loved her. One day the front door banged open and my brother, Frank, came stomping into the house steam practically coming out his ears and all because of that woman who lived down on the corner. “I was just hurrying home cause I had to go to the bathroom and I cut across the corner of her yard,” he growled as he stomped off in the direction of the bathroom.
‘There was nothin’ there but grass!” he continued. “It wasn’t like I’d stepped in a flower bed or something. Anyway, she came charging out on her front porch and just yelled at me like I’d committed a crime. I just wish she’d move away. I just can’t stand her!!!”
Eulalia, my sister, and I began to agree wholeheartedly with everything Frank said. You see, we had our grievances with her also. Suddenly over the listing of old Mrs——– hatefulness the soft, sweet tone of Mama came, “But, Frank, she makes the best cake in the world!
From that time on whenever someone started to say something bad about someone, there was always someone who piped up with, “But, Frank, she makes the best cake in the world!” Needless to say, that phrase defused the “grudge.”
Isn’t that such a great story?! I love how Mama West simply focused on the good. And, just as a side note, I agree with her. If anyone makes me good food, especially cake, that’s good enough reason to love them! But enough about me. Back to the important lesson here. It may not be the lesson you are thinking of. Yes, don’t judge, don’t gossip, find the good in others, but don’t miss this lesson…
We get to choose what we will focus on in the people around us, good or bad. If we constantly choose to see faults in others, what happens to our own spirits? We begin to reflect all the bad we are focusing on. It isn’t intentional. Unfortunately, it can be unrecognizable to ourselves, and therefore, hard to fix. Whether we like it or not it becomes who we are. Hence the quote, “Resentment is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die.” (Carrie Fischer) Every unkind thought is like a sip of poison and soon we become toxic. No one wants to be around someone who is toxic.
On the other hand here is Mama West who “was the kindest, best-natured person I have ever met and everyone loved her.” Have you ever met a person everyone just loved? A person you simply enjoy being around? A person that others just gravitate towards? What is it about these people?
I guarantee you there is one main reason they are the kind of person everyone wants to be around. They always find the good in others, they absorb this goodness and it becomes who they are. They radiate it and we all want to be in their light. After all, flowers aren’t the only things that move towards light. It is our very nature to seek light or positivity and move away from darkness or negativity. Positive Leadership by Kim Cameron teaches this concept beautifully. (Affiliate link)
It is the same reason everyone desired to be around the Savior. He loved people for what He saw in them. He always saw light and in turn He radiated that love and light.
Great! Got it! Stop unkind thoughts, see light in others and you will radiate the kind of light others want to be in. My work is done! Yeah, right. Seeing the negative first can be a habit that is hard to break. Luckily, seeing the positive can be just as habit-forming. In my next post I’ll be sharing a few steps to help you along the way. Be sure to check back!
In the mean time here is a story written by the kind of person I just described. You will recognize the light of my friend Laurel just by reading her sweet words.