Kari van Wakeren
When I was a kid, one of my favorite cereals was KIX cereal. The KIX commercial showed a young girl sitting at her kitchen table with two bowls in front of her, and another girl sitting nearby. The girl then proceeded to count out the number of KIX she was putting in each bowl....1, 2, 3 for you...1, 2, 3 for me, and so on until their bowls were full.
A wise friend recently made a statement that really caught my attention. He is a retired doctor and pointed out that in past generations, dying was considered a part of life. Now, however, when someone dies, unless they are quite old and have lived a long, full life, we ask, "What went wrong?" This is no doubt due to our advanced technology and medical capabilities. Even still, it does pose a problem: we end up viewing death as something that can be outsmarted or avoided rather than what it really is: a very real part of life.
One of my toes had been giving me problems for months. It was quite painful but even still, I put off seeing a doctor about it for quite a while. Then, it occurred to me that I better get it checked out, especially since I’m a Type 1 diabetic, which can lead to foot problems. Thankfully, the doctor was able to take care of my toe quickly and easily. And now that my toe is healed, it feels like I have a whole new foot.
For our recent Christmas program at church, the leaders put an X on the floor where each person needed to stand when it was their time to enter. The leaders also wrote each child’s name on the X that marked their spot in order to make things extra clear. As anyone who has been involved in directing or helping with a kids’ program can attest, there is wisdom in doing things this way; clear directions give the participants a boost of confidence and help things go smoothly. It goes without saying that not everything in life is as clear as knowing where to stand in a Christmas program.
Sometimes as I go about town, running errands, driving to pick up my kids, or heading out for a walk, I find myself waiting for other people I encounter to make the first move. That is, I wait for them to acknowledge me in some way, to say hello, or to smile. There are other days when I find myself being the one to initiate this behavior. When I wait for others to show kindness and welcome, a lot of the time it doesn’t happen.
My grandma Ruth was one of the best cooks I know, but whenever I would ask for a recipe, she would say that she’d have to write one down. I, on the other hand, am a recipe follower. I love adding to the repertoire of what I serve my family, hence the bulging envelopes where I categorize my recipes. Of course, no matter your cooking style, in order to have a meal that is delicious and as good for the body as it is for the soul, you have to head into the kitchen and do the work.
This summer, my husband and I put our house on the market. Although I’m pretty observant to begin with, there’s nothing like having your house on the market that makes you notice other homes that are for sale, particularly those that are marked “sold.” Despite the fact that we did several updates to make our house as sellable as possible, the more “sold” signs I noticed on other properties, the more I wondered how long it would take to sell ours. When I caught myself worrying about it, it’d almost always have to deal with the fact that things were not happening according to my timing.
The other day when I went to pick up my kids from daycare, I merged onto the road thinking I had given myself ample room to make speed ahead of the oncoming traffic. It turns out I didn’t. The person coming up behind me was going quicker than I thought and did not appreciate the fact that I had pulled out in front of him. I know this because he flicked me off. Then, after I made the turn onto my daycare’s road, he flicked me off again. Thankfully, I was in a good mood that day and was not bothered by this man’s gesture. In fact, I felt for the guy.
I have a friend who has a knack for remembering the kind of coffee I like to drink. When I asked her how she did it, she said when she was a bartender in college her dad had told her, “If you want to make someone’s day, remember their drink.” Personally, I’m much better at remembering names and the type of car people drive than I am what people like to drink. But whether it is someone’s name or what they like to drink, there is something special about someone else remembering something personal about you.
When a certain friend of mine is asked, “Why do you go to church?” she responds, “It works for me.” For some reason, this response has stuck with me. It seems such a wise way of standing up for what you believe without being defensive, putting others down, sounding pushy, or getting into an argument.