No this is not the traditional Valentine’s post about gushy love and sweet kid stories and there won’t be a recipe in sight. This post is an open letter about living with heart. About me taking a risk and sharing how I have learned to live with heart. I think I have written this letter/post at least five times going back and deleting numerous times. It’s my Valentine to you, my dear reader no matter where you are on your journey. Here goes nothing….
To The One Who Merely Exists,
I know the days fly by faster and faster and it seems you barely pull yourself out of bed in the morning and you find yourself brushing teeth and tucking little ones in for the night wondering where the day has gone. You face what seems like a never ending list of stuff that needs to be done and your tank is running on empty. I get it. I’ve been there. Heck, on some days I’m still there. We crave that “me time” and think if we isolate ourselves in a bubble bath or take time for a pedicure that our tank will fill back up. But somehow, it’s just temporary.
So today I’m proposing something different, something with long term effects…living with heart. I know you are probably thinking, “I live with heart. I love my family and I do my best every day”. I want to share a four-step way you can live with heart and feel like your tank is full even if you forgot the wet clothes in the washer and now your family smells.
Step 1: Find your talent. God has given every single person a talent on this Earth. You may not have a traditional artistic talent, but you have a talent none the less. Identify what it is. Write them down on a piece of paper. Want to know mine?
1)Great at talking to strangers 2)Reading and understanding Shakespeare 3)Writing 4)Decorating 5)Organizing 6)Good with make-up
Nothing Earth shattering right?
Step 2: Perfect your talent. Practice it until you are not just good at it, but you are great at it. This is the step that separates the wheat from the chaff. This is the deciding factor between living a life of existence compared to living life fully. Anyone who is not willing to improve an aspect of themselves will never rise above their current situation. I talk to at least one stranger every time I’m in the grocery store (and not the check out lady). A real stranger. Now, no abductions please. Just regular talking to a stranger while you are both waiting for the deli man to slice your obscene amount of Tavern Ham to feed your whole brood for the week.
Step 3: Share your talent. This is the scary part but also the part that is by far the most rewarding. You must “plug-in” to your community and take a chance that someone can benefit from your talent. Many years ago, a woman in my church taught a basic cake decorating class. I took her class and I’ll never forget how fun it was and how much it changed my life. I think of her almost every time I frost a cake. Find creative ways to share your talent.
Step 4: Realize it’s never been about you. Isn’t it so much better to give a present than it is to receive one? Our tank fills up when we give to others. I’m privileged to work in the Miss Georgia/Miss America system as a preliminary pageant coordinator at my high school. Each summer when a new Miss Georgia is about to be crowned they hold a farewell luncheon for the current Miss Georgia and I am always struck by her farewell speech. Over the course of her year of service she “grows into” the job and each year she shares how becoming Miss Georgia was not about her. How visiting children at Children’s Miracle Network hospitals gave her more fulfillment than she could have imagined. How people counted on her and sometimes waited days and weeks to see her in person and many times she arrived exhausted, but put on that crown and sash and made someone’s day anyway. How she learned it’s not about her, but about having a servant’s heart.
In January, a new title holder in our little pageant was crowned. As she and her parents waited in the office after the pageant ended to find out what the next steps were, I was in the hallway saying good bye to last year’s title holder before she went back to college. We chatted about the difference a year makes in someone’s life. When she was crowned in 2016 she was a talented, beautiful, intelligent girl who was awestruck in the moment, but the young lady who stood in front of me in the hallway exuded confidence and was comfortable in her own skin. We said goodbye among some tears and I turned, walked into the office and met the gaze of a new girl with wide eyes and thought, “Here we go again. You’re about to go on an amazing journey that will change your life”.
The thing is…each year it changes my life too. Living with heart. You’re not really living without it.
Happy Valentine’s Day my friend. Now go find your heart and not just the chocolate kind. 🙂