I hear Tony’s voice in my head asking me how much coin the event put in my pocket. He hounds me not to annoy me but because he has heard me speak of the stress my husband struggles with when he looks at the dwindling numbers in the check book.
I get it, I really do. I live in a world that regulates everything with dollar signs. Even missionaries continue their journey not based on their heart, but based on their success at raising funds during their home stays.
Money makes the world go around – or at least that is how I am told it is supposed to work. Tony reminds me. My husband reminds me. Even the eight year old has been known to remind me (although I am convinced he is parroting his dad).
I had the opportunity to speak with several classes of juniors at a local high school just before the end of the year. Their teacher gave them the assignment of writing thank you notes to me for taking the time to come visit. She didn’t give them a grade for the effort, so not all of them chose to follow through. But there were dozens that did. That was my only pay (and a wonderful gift from the teacher). No coins wound up in my pocket.
The words that some of the students shared brought tears to my eyes and caused a lump in my stomach. The choice they made to share their understanding of the talks overwhelmed me. Their honesty sometimes made me laugh.
“You sharing your journey made me rethink my own plans.”
“You reminded me that the only thing standing in my way is me.”
“Your talk made me think about not working for a paycheck but finding my passion.”
None of the letters can be cashed in for coins. Not a single one of the letters can be deposited into my bank account. And yet, the words that they shared inspired this article. The words that they poured back out to me motivated me to take another step in my journey. Each letter that I opened made my smile a little brighter, my heart a little lighter and my determination a little stronger.
It might not be possible to live by the world’s standards on thank yous and praise, but I am living a little better because of the ones I received.
I say we should just forget about the standards set by the world – share a little more praise and a little more thank yous. Who knows, we might bring the world around to the hopeful side of things.