Since I moved from Virginia to Washington State in December, I have talked with my grandchildren on the phone, and I have Skyped with them. Today, I received the letter pictured above in the mail. If I've got this right, the group of three on the right is (right to left) Daddy (Joe), Eli, and Jonah. Then the group in the middle is the girls in the nuclear family, Mommy (Emily) and Josie. Then the group on the left is me (Papa) and Nina (Christina). Looks like everybody's smiling and waving. At the top, Eli (almost 6) wrote, "Dear Papa, I love you more than ice cream."
What a sweetheart! He made my heart melt, just like ice cream! I'm going to put this picture on my wall and when I get down, I'm going to look at it, breathe, and smile. I'm going to reflect on the boy who loves me--on fishing and playing and snuggling and reading and laughing together. And I'm going to let that warmth seep from my soul to my bones and energize not only my spirit but my body as well.
See, I believe that the body and soul are connected, and when I nurture my spirit it's good for every cell in every system of my physical being. I believe I'm made to love and to be loved--and that love sustains me. Letters and pictures and gifts and mementos are like batteries that store love energy, to be used at a later time. But the great thing is that those batteries never run down. So I like to fill my space with things that remind me of those who love me, and those I love. These things energize me.
You probably do the same. But you might not think of it in quite the same terms. I invite you to think of each bit of memorabilia, each note in scrawled handwriting, each photograph of a family member, as a meaningful connection to love. If you feel down, negative, discouraged, attacked, confused, depressed, lonely, frustrated, or any of these negative emotions that can wreck your thoughts and emotions--surround yourself with reminders of love's presence in your life. Then let love fill you like electricity. Let it energize you, and bring you into the presence of Peace.
And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.(Philippians 4:8 NLT)