Category Archives: Friendship

March 2018 Blog Header

We All Have a Story


I raced to the post office late on a Saturday afternoon, hoping to get there before closing time. When I walked through the door, I discovered a line of five people all waiting for one clerk. Aargh! I really wanted to get my package in the mail that day.


My face must have shown my frustration because one of the women waiting in the lobby turned to me and said, “You go ahead of me. Really, it is fine.”

I smiled, took a breath, and hit a mental reset button. Getting this package mailed certainly doesn’t matter so much that it justifies my ignoring the people around me and acting rudely.

“That is so nice of you! Are you sure?”

“Yes. I’m actually enjoying the wait.”


“I am.”

“Thank you!” I smiled and continued to stand near her. We made eye contact a few times and exchanged a few more smiles. And then she took a step toward me.

“I’ve been taking care of my parents 24/7 for over a year. My dad passed away recently, and then my mom had a stroke. She seems, finally, to be getting better. Today is the first time I have left her alone. I’m enjoying the peace of standing here waiting. I never thought I would say that. And I can’t believe I’m telling you all of this.”

“You have had quite a journey. I helped take care of my mom before she died. I know how hard and also how wonderful it is.”

Before either of us had time to elaborate, the clerk interrupted our conversation to ask me to step to the counter to mail my package. I reluctantly stepped away from that moment of shared story-telling.

I never expected to receive an invitation into a stranger’s world while standing in the line at the post office. But I did. And she did. For those few brief moments, we looked each other in the eyes, listened, nodded our heads, and gave witness to each other’s lives. What a gift!

We all have a story, don’t we? And we all become more whole by telling it. Oh, may I remember this the next time I feel intent on completing a task and someone shows up at my door, or the person behind me in the grocery store line smiles as I’m hunting for my coupons, or . . .

Cheering you on in this journey to live connected!

P.S. I love this video from the Cleveland Clinic that so vividly reminds me that everyone has a story:

P.P.S  Just can’t resist passing on a recipe. Thought you might enjoy this recipe for Overnight Steel-Cut Oats: Overnight Steel-Cut Oatmeal




Happy In(ter)dependence Day

Perhaps you will attend a parade today or a block party or family barbecue. Interesting, isn’t it that all the activities we typically participate in to celebrate July 4 involve people?

For several years now I’ve wished we could rename this holiday and call it National Interdependence Day—seems, really, to describe the day more accurately. Those early settlers needed each other to draw up and execute their plan for a life in America.

When I think of the word independence, I think of a sturdy, determined two-year-old proclaiming, “Do it self!” But no single person among us is smart enough, strong enough, capable enough to do life alone. Maybe we know that deep-down and that explains, in part, why we celebrate Independence Day surrounded by others.

If you read my blog last week, you read my musings on playing second clarinet and friendship. I talked about the idea of playing a supporting role in friendship and letting others shine. I think I missed a piece of the puzzle, though, the idea of working together for the greater good of the whole no matter what your role—first clarinet or second clarinet. My clarinet-playing friend, Roberta, commented on the blog and beautifully explained this.

As you think this weekend about independence and interdependence, let me leave you with the wise words of my friend Roberta. (Oh, and she found a yearbook photo of us holding our clarinets—too funny!) And I also leave you with a short sentence that has become my favorite: “Let’s do it together.”

Roberta writes:

If given the choice, I, too, like to hide in the back. It was a challenge to be “first clarinet” sometimes. But it was so much fun to be a part of something “bigger,” like a “music team.” God calls us to use our talents to support each other, just like the Body of Christ. My favorite part of our musical journey was playing clarinet duets with you. Loved the harmony. We can challenge ourselves to be our best, whether it be in the lead or a supporting role. Together we are more than the sum of the individual parts. And I am glad that you had the opportunity and challenge to be first chair our senior year. You have grown and blossomed from the experience.

Thank you for your continued friendship!


 1979 All State Band Roberta, Mike, Afton