Let me try to make sense out of this.
We’re visiting different churches in the area we’re working this summer; the fifth one was this morning at First Presbyterian Church of Batavia, N.Y. We were sitting in the sanctuary before services started. Possibly, the organist was playing prelude music, but I’m not certain. My thoughts wandered.
I grew up in the Baptist church but joined the Presbyterian after Leah and I married and I’ve always felt quite at home there. I’m not sure why I thought back to our first church home together, in Brenham, Texas, and hearing from someone in the church office that they received my “letter” from my previous church in White Oak, where I attended through high school. I was told it was accompanied by a note that said something about them getting a good member in me.
“Why did she say that?” I thought this morning, almost 39 years later. I’ve been fairly active in different churches, including serving in leadership. I’ve participated in some Sunday school classes and choirs, but nothing special. “There’s nothing special about me, either,” I thought … or something like that.
But, wait, is there not?
I immediately thought about my wife, who was quietly sitting by my left side, seemingly lost in her own thoughts.
Leah is the most giving, compassionate, caring, kind person I know. It is almost impossible for her to see something negative about people and, if she does, she promptly finds good qualities to balance it out.
Yet, I thought this morning, she continually says she fears she’s not nice enough or kind enough. She’s not just saying that … she seems to mean it. I habitually say, “Yeah, right,” because it’s so obviously not true. She’s so much better than me. But, then, she has said she feels I’m so much better than her.
Stick with me here. Remember, this is all racing through my mind in a few moments of time.
It occurred to me. If Leah really thinks she’s not worthy (feel free to picture Wayne and Garth at this point) of admiration, when she so obviously is … then maybe I’m a better person than I think.
OK, I’m not begging for pats on the back here … please don’t go there.
But, if I’m better than I think and Leah’s better than she thinks, is it any kind of stretch to extrapolate that many of us – maybe most of us – think less of ourselves than is true?
Are you a better person than you privately believe? Maybe. In fact, quite possibly. Lighten up, give yourself a break.
Also, consider those you care about. Do they not realize how great they are? It’s time they heard. In fact, we all need to hear those close to us say that we’re great.
We’ve all heard about depression rates and the number of suicide attempts. I’m not saying this will solve those problems, but it can’t hurt.
Tell people they are great, just the way they are. Tell them what you like, maybe admire, about them. Be honest, be sincere and be generous.
Then, believe it when you hear others say the same about you.
Because you’re really something special.