Tucked under photos and drawings by the kids, I found a small green post-it note in Frances' handwriting. On it was a Swedish proverb that she had copied for me about two and a half years ago, when I was pregnant with Shaelyn. I distinctly remember her giving it to me, but I couldn't remember putting it on the refrigerator or how it actually caught my eye yesterday. But it did. And it brought back a flood of memories of moments. The kind of moments when you remember exactly where you were, what you were wearing, and the sounds, sights and smells around you...all in vivid detail. I find that when those moments are happening, I know I'll remember them, but can't really tell you why they, over all other moments, are significant at the time.
But this small, green Post-it note brought memories just like that.
In her handwriting are the words:
"Fear less, hope more.
Eat less, chew more.
Whine less, breathe more.
Talk less, say more.
Hate less, love more
and all good things are yours."
In my busy life, I find comfort and wisdom in those words.
Fear less, hope more. Fearing less is not being fearless and barging ahead of reason and wisdom, it's more a chance to let go. A chance to enjoy life without worry. Hope more. Without worry there is no reason not to hope.
Eat less, chew more. Not really much that needs to be said there. I find jalapenos help you eat less, because after a few you lose all feeling and end up not wanting to add to the third degree burns on the roof of your mouth. Although, I'm not sure if chewing them for a long time is all that wise either....
Whine less, breathe more. Stop complaining and worrying and just breathe. Have you ever felt unable to breathe? Not so much because of an injury or accident or the God-awful humidity, but simply because you've been so stressed? I hadn't ever felt that until this summer. For the first time I simply couldn't catch my breath, couldn't quite get enough air. And it's frightening to feel helpless in that place. So, breathe more....a mantra I'm taking to heart.
Talk less, say more. Hush, and just listen to the silence. Although I've gotten much better at listening as I've gotten older, I find it hard to be still in the silence. My husband has the silence thing down pat. He can just sit there for an hour waiting for someone to talk, but that's the therapist in him. Me? I'm learning, but have a ways to go.
Hate less, love more. Hate is a vile word and one that I don't like to use very often. I'd almost rather change the saying to "Forgive more, love more", but I'm neither Swedish nor the author of the proverb, so I'll leave it be. Love more....definitely. Loving more is a joy. From handing out bike locks to stopping to see someone who was broken down on the side of the road needed help (don't worry, I was driving, Dan was offering assistance....which the guy refused, but was appreciative for the offer). Loving more this summer also means taking the time to visit Chester, having been there to hold Frances' hand and rest my head on her leg, laughing with my mom about family vacations, building sand castles over and over again on the beach before Shae-zilla destroyed them, taking two classes on dyslexia so I can help the boys read, and finding humor in ordinary pictures of cupcakes and those darn Geek Squad vehicles that seem to follow me everywhere. Loving is about enjoying and cherishing what's in front of you and what God brings into your life at the most unexpected moments. Just like hating and anger and unforgiveness are a choice, so too is loving.
And with these things all good things are yours.
Thanks for the reminder, Frances. Miss you.