Be Radiant

A Light in the Dark

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I was visiting with a friend today and she shared a harrowing story of her grandmother that ended quite beautifully, thanks in large part to some lovely, dare we say, radiant strangers.  It goes like this.

Her grandmother, about 85, decided to walk five blocks to a convenient store. Sure, her daughter and granddaughter were coming over in a little bit but, it was only going to take her a few minutes to run this errand.  She had planned to take her cell phone, but when she picked it up, she realized it was not working (the battery had died) and so she left it at home.

She finished her errand and decided that she really had plenty of time, so why not take the bus to her daughter’s house and save her the trip.  It would be a nice surprise.  But, that is when things got a little turned around.

The grandmother forgets things occasionally, like so many of us do.  This time however, she forgot which bus stop to take and ended up getting off at the wrong spot.  Downtown, on the south side of St. Louis, so many things looked the same to her.  She started walking the city blocks, looking for her daughter’s house.

The more she walked, the more turned around she became, the more scared, the more nervous, the more forgetful.  Day turned to night and her family was besides themselves, as it had now been 4 or 5 hours, and they had no idea where to look.

The grandmother started knocking on doors, could anyone help her?  But, by this time, so afraid, she couldn’t even remember what street she lived on, let alone where her daughter lived.  And then she found the light in the darkness.  Late Saturday night, she knocked on the door of a loving couple.  They could see she was scared and lost.  They brought her into the house, calmed her down, gave her a bit of water and tried to help her remember things.  Where was she going?  What was her address?  Was there a phone number to call?

They were at a loss because she was at a loss.  But, they had a relative who is a police officer.  They called her, could she help?  Sure enough, the police officer was able to help her figure out at least the name of her street, and she took her there.  They walked up and down the street to see what looked familiar.  And, at 3am, there was her daughter, sitting on the stoop of her house, so afraid for her mother.

As my friend, the granddaughter shared this story, still so clearly rattled, it occurred to me that the star of the story is that kind couple. How spectacular that of all the doors to knock on, that the grandmother knocked on theirs.  The family does not know who they are.  But, their kindness, their warmth, their caring for a nervous grandmother, made all the difference.  To me, they were radiant.  They were the light that dark Saturday night.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Be Radiant, faith

Finding Radiance in the Rain

Rain on Leaves

This author and speaker did a bit of a mid-west tour this past week, driving from St. Louis to Indiana to Iowa, back to Indiana before heading home.  I tried to tell myself I was doing one big loop through the upper mid-west, though truth be told, it was more of zigs and zags, through the rain most of the way.

It was a rainy trip and I was slogging through downpours and thunderstorms as I drove.  During one part of the journey, when the rain didn’t seem like it would ever let up, I challenged myself to find the radiance, in the rain.

Surely it was there, I just needed to be present and look for it. I pulled off the highway to get some gas and a little bit to drink.  As I checked out with my beverage in hand, the clerk, never-looking up, murmured “Thank you and have a blessed day.”  I automatically said thank you and turned to leave.  No, I thought to myself, really thank her for saying that.  I turned back to her.  “Thank you for saying that.  That was really lovely.”

Words can not describe her reaction.  She lifted her head up and burst into the biggest smile I have seen in awhile.  Standing  a bit taller, she looked me in the eye and said with a shoulder shrug and that beautiful smile, “I always say that, it is sort of my thing.”

“I am so glad” I replied, “It is a wonderful thing to say.  Thank you so very much.  You have a blessed day as well.”

I stepped outside, into the rain and realized I had seen the radiance I was looking for that day.  Right there, at a little Speedway gas station in Indiana, by a shy, beautiful cashier who wanted to remind me, and all of us, that we are blessed.

 

Be Radiant, faith

The Gift of a Wrong Number

 

A few years I met a spectacular woman, Natoshia.  Here is the story, it was all a “mistake!”  You see, she had made a call, only to discover she had dialed the wrong number.  But, my friend, who answered the phone, chatted with her a little bit and told her she should meet me.  And so, meet we did.

Natoshia is beautiful, inside and out.  My friend introduced us because we both were interested in supporting other women.  I had just launched my book Living Like A Lady When You Have Cancer.  Natoshia had launched a business entitled Wiggin’ It, a company designed to help women with wigs due to hair loss.  But, what really connected us was God, faith, and love of humanity.

So, fast forward a few years and I do more and more work, speaking, and writing around the idea of radiance.  When it was time to do a few videos, Natoshia quickly popped to mind as someone who could share radiance in such a beautiful way.

Radiance is something that can not just be talked about, it needs to be lived.  Natoshia lives it in ways I can only dream about.  Every morning, her daughter chooses a mug for Natoshia to use at school that day.  Natoshia bravely teaches fifth graders!  The mug her daughter pulled yesterday was our mug that says “Be Radiant!”  You have probably seen that mug in some of our videos.

That phrase caused Natoshia to pause yesterday.  You see, every day at school, she shares a phrase of the day with her fifth graders.  A phrase that they can use, that can motivate, that can challenge, that can empower.  Because of that mug, she shared the phrase Be Radiant!  She invited her students to learn about me, to talk about our friendship and to think about how they can be radiant for the day.

She texted me last night and shared that she thinks we are starting a Be Radiant movement.  Her message gave me chills!  The gift of a wrong number leads to a friendship, leads to sharing radiance in many different ways including with a class of fifth graders!  Perhaps this was never a wrong number, perhaps this is God giving us the absolute right numbers!

 

Be Radiant, faith

Till Death Us Do Part….

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St. Mary’s Cathedral; Photo Credit Jamie Thompson

I had the wonderful fortune to witness my nephew and his fiancee get married on December 30.  The church was beautiful, so peaceful and holy.   In the quiet of the church, what was palpable was the love these two had for each other.  Yes, they are young.  But, they had found each other and as I watched the sacrament of marriage, one thing was clear, they truly complete each other.

I headed back to my home town and later that first week of the New Year, finally got to finishing up all the mail that had accumulated during my absence.  Magazines are always piled on the bottom of the stack, so it took me awhile to get to them.  As I started looking at the two or three magazines that had collected, I was stunned.

There, boldly staring up at me was a cover and headline that shook me to the core.  Above the name of the magazine in fact, was this headline “A Guide to Divorcing Well”.  Are you kidding me?  There is no ability to ever divorce well.  None.  Marriage is a lifelong commitment and if it is ending in divorce, there is no way that can be good or done well.

It took me a few days to calm down enough to pick up the magazine and read the article itself.  I did not make it through the article very well.  I didn’t have to – much as I expected, it was about taking advantage of the spouse.  It had tips for minimizing the cost of divorce and simplifying the process.  What?  Divorce should be hard and painful; it should not happen.  How have we as a society gotten to this point where national magazines scream headlines on how to divorce well?  The magazine used that headline because they knew that it would draw people in, it would sell copies, it would speak to people.  But, in selling more magazines, how many people became intrigued, excited even by what divorce could be for them?

When I was at my nephew’s wedding, it was a radiant event.  They were so clearly sharing their love with each other, we all witnessed that in their marriage.  And, they were embraced by a large family, showering them with love as they began their life together.  There is nothing radiant in divorce.  There is no light, no joy; only brokenness and pain. Divorce is not good.  It can not be done well.  Town and Country Magazine, you may have been genteel in the day.  But, any magazine that espouses “divorcing well” is far from genteel,  far from classy. By the way, you have just lost one more subscription.