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    Soul Rythem

    Seven ways to plant beauty in the world

    My husband smiles broadly and winks each time we walk out of front door now. “Look at them,” he says, turning his head toward the German Irises in the flowerbed framing our home. He planted the irises, along with Tiger Lilies, hostas and other perennials, about four years ago, and each Spring they all come back prettier than the year before. 

    One recent morning on his way to work, Greg turned to me as I stood in the door watching him make his way down the steps. He said the flowers brighten his day and prepare him for what awaits him at the office. “I like seeing them first thing in the morning,” he gushed. And he’s delighted that several people have stopped to tell him how lovely the flowers are. It makes his day.

    For Greg, the flowers give him a sense of well-being, not just because of their splendor but also because of the reason he planted them. He was on a mission four years ago to preserve, in some way, the memory of his two brothers, Reggie and Michael, who died within days of each other. So Greg pulled up weeds, dug up the earth and transplanted plants from other places in our yard to make his flowerbed. From his grief, he created a vision of rejuvenating beauty that anyone passing by our home can enjoy.

    What a blessing these spring-time lovelies are. Looking at the flowers this morning as I was leaving for a walk got me thinking about ways we all can plant some beauty in the world today. So here are seven things that could bring a little light and hope to someone, and in the process brighten your own life.

     Encourage someone with words that uplift. Think about the words you use when speaking with a family member, co-worker or the clerk  at the CVS.  “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.”  Hebrews 10:24

     Inspire a young person to achieve their dream. Seek out a young person you know who is striving to realize a goal or one that is just struggling to do the right thing and listen to their concerns. Give them hope; offer them assistance. “The purposes of a man’s heart are deep waters, but a man (or woman) of understanding draws them out.” Proverbs 20:5

     Send a card to an elderly person who is shut-in or better yet call and go see them.  Your compassion will outlive the brief moments spent serving in this way. “Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.” Philippians 2:4

     Call a relative or friends that you have not spoken to in while. Spread the joy of the Lord by just allowing them to know that you were thinking about them. “If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from His love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose.” Philippians 2:1-2

     Speak life to those you encounter. We know from Scripture that our tongues hold the power of life and death, so choose life.  “Do not  let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” Ephesians 4:29

     Forgive someone who has wronged you or ask forgiveness for someone you have wronged. Bless someone by freeing them from the shackles of unforgiveness. “Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” Colossians 3:13

     And finally, smile. It may be the thing that turns someone’s rotten day into a righteous one. A smile could turn a passing glance into a powerful testimony for someone who is ready to give up.  And as my mother use to tell me, and as Kirk Franklin now sings, “you look so much better when you smile.” 

    A smile, like the flowers Greg planted in our yard, provides a ray of optimism that benefits everyone. Let’s plant some beauty, some love, hope, joy and peace this week; the world will be so much richer for it.

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