I used to be primarily concerned with doing the right things, but now I’m most interested in what I’m leaving behind.
I recently emerged from an afternoon nap to find a trail of glitter across the freshly vacuumed landing at the top of our stairs. Not just a little glitter. A lot of glitter. Thankfully, the nap tipped me further toward curiosity than frustration. I followed the trail into the next room where I found a very sparkly Abigail. Days before, a friend gifted her with a new dress-up dress: a pink little number with a gold tutu covered in gold glitter. With her princess tiara perched crookedly atop her head, a blinking wand in her right hand, and “clippy-clop" shoes on her feet, she was the perfect picture of pure joy. I caught the tail end of what I imagine was a very enthusiastic performance, just in time to see glitter raining down behind her grand leap. I clapped and cheered, she took a bow, and then I pointed to the very sparkly floor. She gasped with both hands on her cheeks, “OH NO! Mom, I’m SO sorry!” We both erupted into one of the best belly laughs I’ve had. My journey downstairs to find the vacuum confirmed what I’d suspected all along: Abigail hadn’t stayed upstairs. She’d danced and twirled all through the living room and kitchen too. I could retrace each of her steps because of the sparkles she left behind.
I want my life to be like that.
When I reach the end, I want there to be plenty of sparkle behind me. I’m not just talking about the BIG end (i.e. death), I mean all the little endings between now and then, like the end of this week, the end of conversations and meetings tomorrow, the end of Abigail’s year of kindergarten, the end of 2017, the end of the next decade of my marriage, and everything in between. You’ve met people who light up the room the minute they enter, right? I’m talking about people who inspire courage and growth, those who leave your soul refreshed and confident long after your time with them has come to an end. Those folks sparkle.
As I got busy vacuuming, I couldn’t help but do a little soul searching: “What exactly am I leaving behind? When I leave the room, what are my people - my family, my friends, and my team - left with?” I will go out on a limb of vulnerability here and just tell you I didn’t like the answers that started coming to mind. While some days certainly have their fair share of glitter, things like stress, pressure, frustration, and hurry have been lingering behind me far too often.
In case it’s been a minute since you got your hands on a glitter craft, let me remind you: it gets on everything! As God’s people, we should leave a trail of kindness, compassion, forgiveness, humility, patience, and love. That stuff is contagious; it gets on everything, it spreads, and it’s life-changing. There’s an abundance of the opposite. Darkness and heaviness are everywhere in every form - from arguments, bitterness and slander, to personal agendas and pride, to the brokenness of disease, divorce and death. Blending in is actually quite easy, but who want’s to do that? The Bible says choosing God’s way and His loves makes us shine like stars; we become shining beacons of light, piercing the darkest of the dark. How beautiful is that?
I had the opportunity to share Abigail’s sparkle story with a room full of cancer survivors. As I looked around the room, their eyes told stories their words couldn’t articulate. Within minutes of our conversations, it was so clear they wake up every morning welcoming the priceless gift of today. I listened to a precious couple in their nineties talk about how they make a point to seek out young professionals who live in their apartment complex, knowing they are often here from out of state on temporary assignments. They make them dinner and celebrate their birthdays, and they make a point to keep in touch long after they move away. The gentleman reflected, “I don’t have much to offer any more but I can offer a little encouragement.” Can you see the sparkle? What a legacy.
I was gifted a pink mug with the perfect reminder for my birthday: “Born to sparkle.” If you know me and my coffee habit, you won’t be surprised by my plans to use this mug every single day. Honestly, I need the reminder. I don’t want to forget.
Friends, we were born to sparkle.
Join the conversation by commenting below: What kind of sparkles do you want to leave behind for your people this week?