I am writing this as I sit in a Marriot while attending the wedding of my sister’s granddaughter.  While I love to curate, edit and write posts for the blog, there are priorities that must be honored.  First is the spent with God alone.  Enjoyed that this morning as I walked a mile to a Starbuck’s and no, I did not have any sweet treats.  Second belongs to the family and friends that God affords to you in this life.  To fail to love and invest in them is to be no more than those without faith.

I will return to posting on Monday but am taking this weekend to be with this family celebration.  Just a few observations and comments before I close.

Kindness goes a long way in this life.  My wife and I stopped at a favorite restaurant on the drive here and waited almost 45 minutes to be seated.  It is an excellent restaurant but as I waited, I heard all sorts of complaints about the wait, the price of the food on the menu and a few I dare not include.  I fail to understand how you can go to a favorite place that has good memories and spend your time fretting and grousing about almost everything.

We were seated in the time promised and a young lady came with a smile and a pleasant southern accent.  It wasn’t shrill or peckish.  It was genuine pleasure to hear her speak.  I required speech therapy as a child and any hint of accent was lost in the process, so I appreciate the nuances of speech.   I smiled and complimented her voice in a way that was not condescending.  She seemed appreciative of the remarks.  I watched as the other tables she served pressured her for more service and added their indifferent comments that bordered on rudeness.

A dessert came with my meal but since I have to limit my sugar intake, I first declined.  She kindly insisted that I try one, so I chose a cobbler.  I figured to take a small bite and move on.  She brought our desserts and my cobbler was literally buried under some of the best vanilla bean ice cream I have tasted.  I confess to you that I ate more that I should but the tip came easily for her service.

The wedding was both beautiful and touching.  One of the cousins who is attending a Christian college officiated the service.  You could tell he was nervous but when they looked into his eyes, all tension melted and he was speaking to them as a friend to friend and family to family.  I appreciate that the wedding was personalized in a beautiful setting and not outlandish.  It is not a compliment to our society that we engage in a battle of weddings to see who can top the next one.  I have attended some that were rather sinful in their extravagance.  It is refreshing to share in the union of a couple where the memories most cherished are the words they shared and not the decor or the food.

While I am typing this note in the hotel business room, they are doing construction just to the side. A day worker is here  and apparently had to bring his young son since it is Saturday.  The boy is quiet and obedient.  He sits watching his father work.  What a pleasant surprise to see one of the hotel clerks approach the father and child and ask if her would like some cereal from the breakfast room.  It was not sought but offered out of kindness.  Such speaks well not only for the hotel but for the character of those who work here.

I also had the pleasure of conversing with a New York fireman who is in the area considering retirement.  He was only 54 but had hit the magic number of years for retirement and was definitely not satisfied with the current administration in New York.  Again, I loved the Brookly accent and found him respectful in his comments.  He said he was tired of people being hired not for the qualifications but by some political bias.  There were people hired who he knew were not adequately trained and he feared having to depend on them with his life in a burning building.  He also regretted that New York was returning the behaviors he witnessed as a young man.  Peep shows in Times Square and the return of drugs being used in plain sight.

The last 24 hours have been a harvest of people and life.  All one has to do is look around, speak politely and listen.  People are hungering to talk, to say nice things and even to speak of our Lord.  They just hesistate to do so for fear of some blow back from a scoffer.  My Lord gave some good advice for dealing with such people.  Knock the dust off my shoes and leave them behind.  God is in the rescuing business, not you or me.  We are in the loving business, the sharing business and the serving business.

This world is rich with His handprint and blessings if you just care to look.  I remember one night at seminary, I was walking to the dorm with my head down and full of thoughts.  The dean of the school saw me coming as I did he and I nodded.  He simply said, “Aren’t the stars beautiful tonight?”  I came to halt and looked up.  They were astounding.  My entire demeanor changed.  I had spent the entire evening and never looked up once.

Do me a favor.  Look up tonight.  Listen to those around you.  Speak kind words and be grateful for what God has given you and what He has saved you from.  See you Monday.