Refreshed or Burdened?

I’ve written about him before. His name is Harold and he was my high school college prep English teacher.  More importantly, he was my theater director.  Although I liked English class, I like theater even more.  Harold provided me with countless wonderful opportunities on the stage in high school. We still keep in touch.

I’ve written about her before.  Her name is Miss Bev and she was my kids’ Baby Bible Class teacher at church when they were one.  More importantly, she has been a safe, safe sounding board the last five years, not to mention, a model of who I want to be when I grow up.  We still keep in touch.

As the pandemic continues, I do my best to stay in contact with both Harold and Miss Bev.  They are far better at staying in touch with me than I am with them.  (They are both gracious like that.)  One thing I guess I knew about them before the pandemic, yet has been reiterated during the pandemic, is how positive they both choose to live.  Now please don’t think either one of them is in denial about pain, or hardships, or trials.  And please don’t think that neither one of them have not experienced pain, or hardships, or trials.  Yet, everytime I speak with them on the phone, I leave feeling refreshed.  We can talk about reality, but still find joy as their joyfulness just bubbles to the top.  Both of them have distinct laughs, although it’s no secret that when Harold really gets to laughing, he snorts!  I know both of their faces so very well,  and even talking with them on the phone, I can always visualize their facial expressions.  Miss Bev usually has a joke or two for me.  Harold always has a question and some stories.  They are two octagenarians who refresh the hearts of those who know them.

My favorite podcast host, Brant Hansen, made an interesting comment the other day.  He asked if I’ve ever noticed how older people go one way or the other.  Very rarely does one meet a middle-of-the-road older person.  It seems older people are usually joyful, full of life, and leave you feeling encouraged after having been in their presence, or older people are usually bitter, complaining, and leave you feeling drained after having been in their presence.  Brant pointed out, we are all in training.  We don’t have to wait until we are old to see which way we will go.  We can tell right now, by taking an honest appraisal of ourselves and chances are . . . how we are behaving and acting and speaking and thinking when we are 40 or 50, is a pretty good indication of how we will be behaving and acting and speaking and thinking when we are 80 or 90.  

We are currently in training.  Each of us.  Every single day.

A verse in the book of Philemon really stood out to me.  It’s verse seven to be exact and since Philemon only has one chapter, I don’t even need to write a chapter reference.  Verse 7 says, “Your love has given me great joy and encouragement because you have refreshed the hearts of the Lord’s people.”  A while back I wrote in my Bible to the side, “Do people feel refreshed or burdened after they’ve spent time with me?”

I think it’s a good question to ask myself.  And maybe you do too, Dear Reader.  But you know, neither Harold nor Miss Bev needs to ask themselves that question.  I can answer it for them.  They leave others feeling refreshed.  Always!  How thankful I am for both of them!

Until the next Wednesday the Lord allows.