We were asked not to bring birthday gifts—only some kind words to say to her. So we finished off our hamburgers and gathered in a small circle in the living room. It wasn't hard to think of things to say to this sweet friend, but my favorite was when one of her co-workers sat forward and said that when things get crazy at work, "She's like an island of safety to me."
Isn't that a rich statement to make about a person?
This co-worker talked about being able to look over and get an encouraging look in the middle of a hard day.
Looks are powerful. Not the kind of looks that you see in a mirror but the kind that you speak to someone with your eyes in a tense moment.
I've got your back.
I like you.
You're going to get through this.
What mistake? I didn't see any mistake.
Love you. It's OK.
You know the kind: Mercy-filled looks. Grace-filled looks. Islands of kindness and goodwill.
It doesn't take a preacher or some super-gifted follower of Christ to offer that to people on a daily basis.
Paul says it like this:
"And be kind to one another, tenderhearted" (Eph. 4:32a).
Turns out a man can be an island after all.
This got me thinking about my Spanish class and all of the complexities of relationships that swirl about in that small space for 45 minutes every day. It's easy for things to go awry with 17 people in a room, but I hope I can at least offer each student looks that make him or her feel safe and cared for. Seems I can at least do that, as I trust Jesus to fill me and overflow from my eyes every day.
And I pray that the grace of Jesus will pour out through you, in the way you look at your people. May they feel safe.
Christy Fitzwater is an author and pastor's wife living in Kalispell, Montana. She is the author of Blameless: Living a Life Free From Guilt and Shame and My Father's Hands: 52 Reasons to Trust God With Your Heart. Find her devotional writing at christyfitzwater.com.
Christy Fitzwater is an author and pastor's wife living in Kalispell, Montana. She is the author of Blameless: Living A Life Free from Guilt And Shame and My Father's Hands: 52 Reasons to Trust God with Your Heart. Find her devotional writing at christyfitzwater.com.
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