Go Ahead – Make My Day

Go Ahead – Make My Day

The last time someone made my day, she did so at 9:37 p.m. when I checked email. She wrote something that was quite nice to read, and I thought to myself my day had just been made. I looked at the clock on my computer and realized I had approximately 23 more minutes to enjoy the day that had been made.

I wrote back to her and told her she made my day, and since it was late, I would read her email again in the morning so tomorrow’s day could be made.

Just a week after receiving her email, I needed to deliver a couple of old newspaper clippings to Barb, a writing friend of mine. You cannot know Barb without knowing her favorite flower is the sunflower.

The plan was for me to leave the papers on her doorstep. I decided to stop at the flower shop first and check the selection of sunflowers, and I walked away from the store having spent just a few dollars. That just didn’t seem right. Such a pretty wrapped bouquet of flowers and greenery, and it cost me a little bit of nothing.

So I drove to Barb’s home and left the loot on her doorstep, and it didn’t take long before I received a text message letting me know the flowers made her day. Then she asked me to go to lunch next week.

I didn’t even mean to make her day, but there I was – thinking that was way too easy.

Imagine what God felt while designing the flowers He created. He should have been thinking, “Well these fabulous little things will certainly make someone’s day. Maybe I should add a unique scent to each one. And some medicinal qualities – they’ll figure it out.  How about I color them up real good and let them marvel at the shapes and textures. They’re going to talk about their favorites and their friend’s favorites.”

So God did His part – the actual making of our days and the making of all of creation. Here I am with the easy part. The fun part. Go ahead and make someone’s day, I said to myself.

We may call it “thoughtfulness,” but I’m finding no one needs to put much thought in to it. We just need to know how easy it is to make someone’s day.  

I was typing away on this little story when the phone rang after my friend Joyce arrived home from her church meeting – a place where she knew I left something in the lobby for her and her husband to find.

I could tell her day had been made just by the smile in her voice when she thanked me for the little rose plant and stated, “Well they sure perked me up.”

The flowers caused a couple of phone calls between Joyce and me, and the two of us realized we had a chance to catch up with what was going on in our lives. It was an opportunity to discuss whose husband was spending the most time fishing and who was catching what as well as a reminder that we need to be intentional and pick up the phone just because.

In recent months, a few friends have called to say they needed someone to talk to, and I have done the same. It feels good when a friend tells you they just need to talk, and you’re the one they chose. They may apologize for their call, but in reality, it is not a burden when someone calls just to talk.

I was recently shopping for a few needed gifts when I came upon a prayer plant. The name of the plant really caught my attention.  

I can easily overthink when it comes to deciding upon gifts for my friends, but the prayer plant quickly made me think it would be a reminder to keep friends in prayer – which of course is the greatest gift we could ever give. So out the door I went with two prayer plants in hand. One for a friend. One for me.  

My family, like many, knows what it was like to pray for those in the military. My brother was in Vietnam when he was 19 years old, and I was the 6 year old little sister. My mother had saved the letters Ed sent home back in 1969 and 1970.

I remember my big brother was in the Army, somewhere far, far away, where it was probably way too warm and somewhat jungle-like. My older cousins were in the service as well as others from Edgerton. I was too young to realize those men were also very young, many of them not yet 20 years old. All I knew was how strong and capable they were. They knew how to drive, work on cars, and take us places when they were home.

My parents owned a world globe that sat on the shelving unit in our home. I could spin it to find places on the other side of the world. I remember not being interested in knowing more about what was going on. There was this place called Ohio, and I was glad I lived there. I felt a sense of safety and security because I lived in modern times. No more of that war stuff after this one was over.  

I found Ed’s letters on a Sunday evening and began reading through the stack. In a letter dated January 5 of 1970, he started a paragraph with my name, so naturally it caught my eye.  

He wrote, “Marlene, I don’t know how to answer your question. I suppose he makes all the flowers. Is that all you have to write to me about? Jeanette, why haven’t I got a letter from you, yet?”

Ed’s written words stopped me from picking up the next letter and reading more because earlier in the day, I had been writing about what God may have been thinking when He created flowers. Apparently I was questioning where flowers came from when I was a little girl. And it made me wonder what I had written to Ed that would make him ask me if that’s all I’ve got to write about.

The letters sent to Ed from his family and friends did not make their way home with him for he would have needed a large suitcase. My mother wrote a letter to him every single day. There she was with ten children to take care of, and she knew she needed to tell Ed what was going on in his hometown as well as the family news. Of course all of us would love to read the letters we sent to our loved ones years ago.

More than a few times, Ed answered our questions in his letters home. So here I am with the answers, wondering what the question was. A real-life game of Jeopardy with questions from 50 years ago. Categories would be: What kind of car is Ed going to drive when he gets home? What’s going on in Edgerton? Who is getting married? Who is already home?

I texted a picture of Ed’s letter to Jeanette, and she said she imagined she didn’t write a letter yet because she was only four years old. Ed was probably thinking a colored picture with her name on it would be the best. A good reminder to the rest of us: We can help the little ones with their coloring and letter-writing projects.

If you were the older brother of a four year old little gal you had been helping to raise, you too would want to find an envelope addressed to yourself with some artwork from her. Children tend to draw the best pictures with things that perk us up: Things they have discovered and felt with their own hands and face, like the rays of the sun and the blades of grass.

I was probably sound asleep in my bed each night when my mother sat down in the evening to write to her oldest son who was in Vietnam. I have never known what it is like to have a son in the service, but she did. Her youngest son was born in May of 1969. I never knew what it was like to hear the words Down syndrome, but she did. I just heard the word “special” and knew it was true.

Steven loves all things military and all things parade. He knows how to put his hand over his heart and help with the singing of a patriotic song, and he knows how to give the most magnificent of hugs. He often offers a follow-up hug with a pat on the back, some smiles and conversation about how everyone is, before a second hug takes place.

He was a toddler when the soldiers came home, and he sat on the floor in front of the television as the men stepped off the plane, saluted, and walked down the steps where their families would run to embrace them. Oh the happiness all of us felt. Steven saluted right back and watched all the hugging going on.    

It’s actually a bit of a pleasant thought to think about building our lives around staying connected with those we love, thinking about how deeply we truly love them, and how they in return touched our lives in one way or another over the years. It’s a wonderful thought: Someone, somewhere, is praying for you when you have no idea you are being prayed for.

We do not have to look far to see how much God loves us.  He gives us rain and dirt and plenty of sun to turn seeds and bulbs into beautiful flowers.  He gives us friends to walk through life with us, and He even made sure there are plenty of older children in our life to teach us how to use a crayon and spell our name. 

God already has the answer and doesn’t wonder what the question is, and don’t you suppose He is glad we chose Him when we just need someone to talk to? He knows it takes just one word to start a prayer.  He created your voice and loves to hear it – so go ahead – make someone’s day.

© Marlene Oxender 2021

The world globe that sat in my parents home for 70 years is now on a shelving unit in Jeanette’s home. I asked her to text a picture of Vietnam, and this is what the map looked like at the time the globe was manufactured.
My dad was born in 1919, and this photo was taken on his 50th birthday, September 14, 1969. Jeanette was one week away from her 4th birthday, and I was 6 years old. The world globe and the encyclopedia set were in the background of many family photos.

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