One late afternoon in June, my long time girlfriend and I had a really neat conversation. She began to walk down memory lane, reminiscing about our "growing up" years. I have to admit, several stories I couldn't pull up...I just couldn't remember them. This was odd to me as short-term memory can be a challenge, but long-term memory has usually been quite good. Instead of continuing on, she stopped and went back to each one, using specific words (and sometimes scribbled images) to jog my memory. As she did this, certain memories muscled their way out of the hidden memory vault in the alcoves of my mind. I am so thankful for her insight and willingness to help me remember. We shared laughter and fond sentiments while our husbands shook their heads or raised their eyebrows, depending on the memory brought forth at that particular moment.
One particular memory remained elusive for me, however it has remained with her all these years: pudding in a teacup. I guess I had a quizzical look on my face when she talked about it because she leaned forward and said with a huge smile, "You DON'T remember the pudding in a teacup?" I did not. Apparently, my Mom decided to give me a special lunch treat one day during the summer. She always looked for ways to make folks feel special, including her own children. One day I discovered my dessert waiting for me in the frig: chocolate pudding nestled into a pretty teacup with a saucer underneath. All these decades, my girlfriend vividly remembered the special way Mom showed her love by going beyond "ordinary."
This is who my Mom is, and this is how she has lived her life for Jesus. She recognized the importance of reaching out to others in very simple, yet extraordinary ways. She was a hard-working Mom who provided well for her children, yet as tired as she must have been many, many times, she still discovered ways to say, "You are special. You are loved."
Although I did not remember this particular love gift of Mom's, I am grateful to my girlfriend for the gift of her memory of it. Immediately I shared my love for fine-bone china with her, wondering if that special lunch treat so long ago unknowingly initiated my attraction to these delicate beauties. Sharing a cup of tea in these pretty pieces seems to make time slow down enabling friendships to deepen. Kip knows how I feel about this so he often brings home some of these treasures from a local Thrift Shop.
Making others feel special does not need to cost much, if anything. My Mom merely used a different vessel for my pudding, but it was an item she used when entertaining guests. Decades later, I realize the significance of what my Mom did. She was letting me know how much she loved me even though she couldn't be with me at that time. Simple acts of kindness, given in unique ways enables us to radiate Jesus's love. It encourages us to look outward rather than inward. Every person has the opportunity to make a positive difference in someone else's day, even when our own day challenges us.
Don't pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically. Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying. When God's people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality. ~Romans 12: 9-13~
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