Thursday, September 11, 2008

Not Appropriate for the Newspaper: A Love Letter

I wrote the following for my regular newspaper column, but it was deemed not appropriate for the Community Voices section. I think it's a message everyone needs to hear, however. So, here it is...

This is a love letter to you. Haven’t gotten one of those in awhile?

Dr. Dee is one of my biggest fans at work. She never fails to offer me support and encouragement. I once overheard her tell another medical director that if Nelson was working on it she was confident that it would be done well.

I once sent Dr. Dee a note thanking her for being such a positive influence on me. She sent me an e-mail thanking me for my note, and saying she had tucked it into her “treasure chest.” She told me she has a little “treasure chest” where she keeps really nice things – notes, pictures, clippings, trinkets – things that she knows will make her smile when she sees them.

When she is having a rough day or struggling, Dr. Dee opens her “treasure chest,” goes through it, and is inspired and renewed again. My note made Dr. Dee’s “treasure chest” – how special is that?

Do you have a “treasure chest” of really nice things? Things you know will make you smile at first glance? Things that will inspire and renew you when you’re having a rough day?

Maybe you create your “treasure chest” today and clip this column and tuck it in. Uh oh. Now I have to write something worthy of that.

You may not have been reminded of it lately, but you are absolutely special. There is no other person in the world just like you. Never has been. Never will be. You’re totally unique. One of a kind for all of eternity. Imagine that.

And, because you are so unique, you have a unique purpose for being on this earth. You weren’t a mistake. You are here for a reason. All of your skills, and knowledge, and talents, and creativity are a gift to you to be used for a specific purpose. (Let me give you a hint – your purpose involves doing something for someone else.)

Here’s something else you should know. Wherever you are, whatever you are doing right now – God loves you. God’s love is unconditional. It’s not based on anything you’ve done or haven’t done. It’s not a bonus for work well done. It just is. God made you and said, “Wow, this is really good.” So, there you have it.

One more thing. Having a bad hair day? Less than perfect today? God thinks you are stunningly beautiful. Sheer perfection. Whatever you are, whoever you are, is exactly perfect for what God has in store for you, for your unique purpose. When you look in the mirror, you may not like what you see. God looks at you and beams.

So, there’s three things to put in your “treasure chest” – you are totally unique and thus incredibly special, and on this earth for a specific purpose; God loves you unconditionally; and in God’s eyes you are absolutely beautiful.

Here’s what I think God wants you to do with that knowledge: take one day a week and rest in it. Consider it enough for one day. A sabbath day. God has even set the example for you, remember?

One day a week just stop. And rest. Without guilt or apology. If for no other reason than because God has given you the OK – actually the command – to do it. Not because you have completed all of your tasks, but right in the middle of all of your tasks. Stop for one day a week and rest in the security that those three things (that you just put in your new “treasure chest”) are enough.

A day to rest. To celebrate. To feast. To recover. To renew. To refresh. To do only those things you want to do. Take a day of rest one day a week, and you’ll be amazed at how much better the other six become.

Start a “treasure chest.” Tuck those three truths in it, and also deep into your heart. And take one day a week to rest in those truths, to refresh and renew. You’ll be a better person for it.

Someone who is so unique and special, and loved, and beautiful deserves a love letter every now and then, right?