Remember The Troggs’ 1966 hit song echoing, “Wild thing, you make my heart sing. You make everything groovy?”
Of course, you’d either need to have been born no later than the early 60s or be a particularly involved oldies fan to know what I’m talking about. I hadn’t even thought of the song in a long time until last Friday.
The Rev. Dr. Sandra Randleman, associate pastor at Nashville First Presbyterian, spoke at the weekly Kiwanis Club of Nashville luncheon and she encouraged members to ponder some personal questions. Among them, I was particularly struck by these:
- What makes your heart sing?
- What makes you lose track of time?
- How might your gifts intersect with the world’s needs?
I scribbled notes down on a sheet of paper I had stuck in my coat pocket. I suspect I’ll be thinking about the things I heard for some time to come.
Funny thing about coat pockets, at least for me. They become reservoirs of notes I take in the inspiration of a given moment. I often forget that I put these handwritten reminders of things people say only to rediscover them months later.
For example, last Wednesday I threw on a jacket made of material generally appropriate only in warmer times of the year. With temperatures approaching the 80s, I slipped it on as I left the house not knowing of the blessing I’d find later in the date. On an offering envelope taken from the pew rack at Millbrook (AL) Church of the Nazarene last summer I found one of those reservoirs of refreshment in my pocket.
I heard two good messages that day at a funeral of one of the kindest ladies you could have known. That offering envelope was covered in notes I had taken while listening to Phil Fuller eulogize his mother, Nina. Later, Nina Fuller’s close friend, Nina Gunter, delivered a prior to beautiful message of comfort for family and friends.
I had known Roy and Nina Fuller for many years. They had a sweet and encouraging presence about them in the few times we had personally interacted. But Phil grew up in their house. He knew them in a way only a son could and the things he said about his mother could serve as a blueprint for how we might achieve world peace, or at least enjoy better relationships.
Whether with bombs fired from ships and planes, from our own mouths, or from our computer and smart phone keyboards, the world in which we now find ourselves is full of pain and danger. As much as I wish I could solve the geo-political issues of our day, most days I feel downright helpless. The incessant human suffering displayed around the globe and sometimes across the street just seems to much to bear.
I think the reason the world stays so torn up is because we forget that maybe there’s something in our pocket we forgot was there. It just might help us if we found it.
Maybe the blueprint for world peace illustrated by the life of people like Nina Fuller that I found in my notes on that offering envelope isn’t so complicated after all.
Here are the main points of the blueprint I took from Phil’s words about his mom:
- Like it says in Proverbs 31:25-26, “Strength and dignity are her clothing, And she smiles at the future. She opens her mouth in wisdom, And the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.” (NASB)
- She seemed to say only encouraging words.
- It was just natural for her to see the good in people.
- Her eyes twinkled and her smiled gleamed, giving evidence of real joy.
- She loved God, loved people, loved the church, loved her family and loved life.
So, yeah I know it’s entirely too simplistic to think we could solve all the world’s problems by emulating a sweet southern lady’s path to peace in her own life, but I guarantee you we’d all be better off if we lived that way.
I’m not suggesting that everyone has to think just alike. In fact, I know we won’t. But the human condition pretty much begins and ends with a preoccupation with self. It’s why we need the saving presence of the Son of God who showed us how to lay down our lives in the most brutally beautiful way.
I am suggesting we could do better, with God’s help. Sometimes I think we stay so torn up about things going on around the world we don’t do what we can right here at home.
And, I am suggesting that even if you can’t solve the global refugee crisis you might say a kind word to your server at the restaurant or your checker at Walmart or your colleague at work who drives you crazy.
Kindness is not overrated. A lady named Nina lived a “fuller” life than most because she knew that better than most and I think it made her heart sing.
What makes your heart sing?