Joan Clayton: Religion Columnist
“Close your eyes and hold out your hands.” The waitress at the fast food place had been friendly and personable the first time she waited on us.
“You’re going to put a bug in my hand!”
“No I’m not. Just close your eyes.”
I opened my eyes to find a pair of unique, beautiful earrings.
“These are for me? Thank you so much. What a blessing!”
“You need cowgirl earrings to wear because they go with your husband’s cowboy hat!”
I told her about the time our youngest granddaughter asked, “Granddad, do you sleep in your hat?”
We laughed together and in the weeks to follow we became even better friends. We talked about Jesus and shared our faith. I made a point to have on those lovely earrings every time we went there to eat.
One day we had a hunger for those delicious burritos but she wasn’t there. An employee told us she had died from a long-term illness. We grieved for her. No one would have guessed that this young joyful woman had a time bomb ticking. She lived her days bringing blessings to customers, knowing death could come at any time.
“Touching lives and warming hearts” became the mission in her short life. Each time I wear those earrings someone always comments, “I like those. They are so different.”
I learned a profound lesson from that young lady. Life is too short for misunderstandings, unforgiveness and grudges. Today is the day to live and love.
Now when I wear those earrings I think of her and I thank God for sending her into my life. She left memories from a loving heart — memories that remain in my treasure book — memories I cherish that fill the pages of my life.
My grandfather was such a hard working, humble man. His faith and belief in God had a profound influence upon my life. He had five daughters of his own and nine grandchildren, one of them being the only granddaughter, me. He loved me unconditionally and I knew it! He left something good behind, memories to cherish in my life and in the lives of many others. I am reminded of Proverbs 10:7: “The memory of the righteous will be a blessing, but the name of the wicked will rot.”(NIV)
My husband had a coach in high school who encouraged and believed in him. This beloved coach influenced and molded the man I married, God’s gift to me. He left both of us with a cherished memory.
An anonymous author has said, “The human heart feels things the eyes cannot see, and knows what the mind cannot understand.” I feel that way with special memories. Looking at the world through eyes of faith, goodness and love reminds me that it all comes from God, the source of love.
Each one of us can look back and find someone whom the Lord put into our path when we needed them the most. I call these people “leave something good behind world changers.”
Friendship and love are stepping-stones on the way to heaven. I have found that a loving heart makes a person beautiful. I have also discovered that the only thing you get to keep is what you give away.
Good memories are photos in the camera of our hearts and I cherish them.
Yet there is a love far beyond what our finite minds can grasp. It is God’s love. His love never comes to an end to those who will receive it. Love goes on when breathing stops. Love goes on when the heartbeat is gone. Life ends but love goes on.
Let us spread that love while we have time on earth to cherish those special blessings in our lives.