Courage to give: “Love is a Verb” by Gary Chapman contains powerful and moving real life stories from those who give love. Today is the day before Good Friday; no school tomorrow. I started thinking about my students. I wanted to give them a little treat for this special occasion, but stopping at the store on the way to work was not in the plan. If I don’t make it there by 7:30am, all good parking spots are taken and I would need to park far away and walk. I passed one mall; I didn’t stop. I was getting closer to one last grocery store before the school and I was fighting these thoughts: “Well, they probably won’t mind not getting anything”, “They are not expecting anything from you”, “It doesn’t matter; they probably don’t care about Easter”, “Just go. Be on time”, “You might get stuck in traffic if you stop.” This happens all the time to me when special occasions come around. RARELY do I do anything because it is simply inconvenient to my “plans.” Today, I was at it again. As these justifications floated in my head, I heard three distinct words: “courage to give”. I felt this “oomph” in my heart and bosom and that sent me immediately to a right turn, parked my car, and walked into the grocery store. I saw the faces and names of all those students I was going into the store for; I started thinking of what to write on the little treats and my heart smiled. It smiled because my heart remembered to love; the courage was stronger than the rationalizations in my head. It felt like one of those times when a certain drink or food “hit the spot.” This feeling was letting me know I was doing the right thing. I bought their favorite treat and walked out of the store with a spring in my steps. This moment softened my emotions; I was able to see why doing small and simple things matter so much not only for the one who gives, but the one that receives the kindness. I put a little message of hope, love, and Easter blessings with the treats and handed it to them. “Awww! Thank you Miss!” and “Have a good weekend” was the happy response. I was satisfied knowing I acted on that little prompting to have the courage to give even when it requires detours, stops, and inconveniences. Yes, I had to park faraway and walk, but it was worth the stop. It makes a difference and inspires changes in the lives of all involved, including me!
Courage to reserve punishment: In the words of Thomas S. Monson: “Never let a problem to be solved become more important than the person to be loved.” I make fruit smoothie twice a week for me and my husband (My kids are not fans. They just chew the fruits.) About 5 minutes before I dropped my husband off, I asked him if he finished his smoothie. His arms went up with “arrghhh it is still sitting on the counter. I forgot it.” “What the heck!” I said. “That was a huge cup of smoothie being wasted.” He apologized, but in my head were all sorts of judgments and punishments I wanted to spit out. One of them was never to offer him any more cup of smoothie…eeeeeek (oh if he reads this post, he will find out); this was because I planned, prepared, served, and was looking forward to his delicious reaction from the first sip, but it didn’t happen. I was disappointed. I fought the urge to hand over the punishment. I simply took courage to remain silent. These judgments and punishments remained in the quiet chamber of my brain never to be executed. I also came to think how unfair it would have been to punish him for forgetting as if I was so perfect at remembering things. That fact alone slapped me on the face making me see the error of my way. After all, it was just a cup a smoothie. What a lesson for me! It may be a no brainer to some, but this courage enables me to search my own soul and remove the motes therein. This courage points me the right way! There is peace and happiness because I acted with courage to love and reserve judgment. There are simply too many fights, wars, broken marriages, and angry people in this world without our adding to it. I’m glad my husband became more valuable than the forgotten cup of smoothie.