I just wanted a
cup of coffee. A dark chocolate latte—to be more precise—from my favorite cool,
quirky, Baroque and Celtic music playing, Catholic icon decorated, contemporary
art covered, fantastic smelling, local coffee shop. I exchanged pleasantries
with the owner/barista and was about to hand over my debit card to pay, when I
heard a deep, rumbly voice behind me. “Excuse me, sir. Her money is no good
here.” I felt confused and shocked and readied myself for a confrontation. But,
in the matter of seconds as I was turning to face my accuser, my brain also
registered a lilting warmth in that voice. It was then that I saw a familiar,
welcome face . . . An older gentleman who was a friend from the church where I
serve as an Associate Pastor. A friend who is a kind listener and encouraging
supporter. “Her money is no good here.” Oh, hi, social cues. He was joking. And
he was wanting to buy not only my cup of coffee but the one I was getting for
my husband, too. Sometimes, I take things so seriously. Sometimes, I’m quick to
assume the worst. But I’m discovering that Love and Goodness always, always
break through . . . Often in ways that surprise me.
I laughed and
bantered with my friend, and, as I left the coffee shop and took a sip of my
drink, I found that latte to be the sweetest, warmest beverage I’ve had in a
while. And that’s part of the reason I want to write, to share.
because of a dear friend who knows my love of words and who recently looked me
squarely in the face and straightforwardly proclaimed, “You should write a
blog.” How could she have known that only a few days prior that same idea
flitted across my brain, and I had quickly shoved it aside? I’m thankful for
friends who have vision and courage and enthusiasm and don’t put up with my
silly excuses and hesitations.
because of my husband who adventures with me in this life and brings out the
best in me as a human being. It’s because of my daughter, who views this world
with wide eyes, open hands, and squeals of joy.
It’s because of
all of my family members and friends-who-feel-like-family. And my
acquaintances. And the people I happen to meet. And the people who don’t like
me. All the people who shape my life and help me to grow.
especially because of one dear friend who passed away only a few weeks ago. A
friend we affectionately call “Scotty.” He was a well-respected Physician’s
Assistant in neurosurgery. But, outside the operating room, he had a passion
for light—stage lighting in particular—and photography. He taught me to capture
the moment in pictures. And when you take a photo of a child or a baby, for
goodness’ sake, don’t just peer at them from above. . . . Get down on their
level and discover the light and sparkle in their eyes. And when you place
lamps around your home, create warm, soothing light with just the right bulbs.
You don’t need those harsh, clinical-looking fluorescent lights glaring down on
you all the time.
In addition to
light and photos, Scotty taught me about what is good. I loved to chat with him
about food and recipes. Recipes that his sweet little Mama from Mississippi (or
“Miss’ssippi,” if you’re saying it right) taught him years ago. Recipes for
delicious meals made from simple ingredients but with lots of love and would
make you feel like you were surrounded by a big ol’ hug. From Scotty, I learned
which brand of canned green beans was good. Where to get the best frozen
spanakopita bites so that it tasted like you’d gotten them fresh from a Greek
bakery. How to make barbecue shrimp in the oven with these certain herbs and
spices. It’s easy but tastes like it took forever to make. And don’t forget
some good, crusty bread to sop up that extra barbecue sauce. All the words of
wisdom about good food and how to make it.
And when you’re
at a restaurant, don’t immediately put in your order and be in such a hurry. Take
a moment. Have a nice, glass of wine and an appetizer. Talk (and listen!) to
the folks gathered around you. People-watch a little. Take it all in. Savor the
moment and savor your meal. Enjoy what’s good.
And, as you go
about your day or make plans for something important, make a list. Jot down all
the little details. Because the details matter. Details like bringing what
Scotty would call a “sack of biscuits” to the technicians servicing your car.
Not necessary at all, but it made a difference. It showed gratitude. Or making
and bringing a chicken and rice casserole to a neighbor in need. Or just
because you were neighbors. Or caring about all the elements of a stage
production—from hair to make-up to costumes to the singing and dancing—and, of
course, the lighting. Always the lighting. Always about illuminating what was
good and what the world needed to see. Even the little things. The
And that’s what
I want to share and write about. Good things. Love, light, and little details.
In honor of the people who live Love and make this world better by being in it
(or by having been in it). People who engage this world with integrity, hope,
good humor, and joy. These will be my reflections on the big things and the
small things of life, through the lens of Love and Light. With eyes and heart
open to all the little details.