They’re All Potentially Good Days

Fill us at daybreak with your kindness,
that we may shout for joy and gladness all our days.

Psalm 90:14

I have only vague memories of rare “bad” days when I seemed to have gotten up on the wrong side of the bed. Though I never figured out which side of the bed was “wrong,” a dear friend showed me how to begin every day with a positive attitude.

Carol and I had known one another for only a year when her husband was transferred and their family relocated to a distant city. We’d become fast friends, so this loss was difficult for both of us. We kept in touch via the phone and email. I also kept Carol in the loop regarding our church by sending her our parish bulletin each week. When our first Christmas apart arrived, Carol sent me a daily devotional to thank me for my effort. Though this was a completely unnecessary gesture, it has had long-lasting and life-changing ramifications.

It took only a few weeks for that devotional to become part of my daily routine. I found that I remembered to read it every day if I did so first thing in the morning. Though every reflection wasn’t necessarily my cup of tea, each author managed to cast a positive light on the new day. Ever since, regardless of what life brings my way, this attitude adjuster assists me in facing everything with hope and joy. That devotional also inspired me to do the same for others through my own books and these posts. One never knows just how powerful a single act of kindness can be.

Loving God, help us all to begin every new day with joyful anticipation of the things to come. May our example give others reason to do the same.

©2018 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

The Bright Side

With me at your right hand,
you will not be shaken.

Psalm 16:8

My husband gingerly eased into his recliner, saying, “My shoulder really hurts.” Then he quickly added, “But if this is the worst that happens today, I’m a lucky person.”

Our life together hasn’t been trauma free. Still, my husband and I try to look at the brighter side of things when tragedy touches us. I was blessed with this mindset early on. My husband wasn’t. It’s taken years of nurturing his own faith as best he could for him to develop this positive stance toward life’s negatives. Though this transformation sometimes reverts to a “work in progress,” I admire Mike’s persistence.

You know, God has encouraged our faith from the beginning. When humankind failed to acknowledge the wisdom of the prophets, God sent Jesus of Nazareth to get our attention even more dramatically. Who but one from God could have conceived of the prodigal son’s forgiving father and the lost coin’s owner who turned everything upside down to find it? Who but one from God could have lived love, compassion, mercy and forgiveness with such perfection? Yet, in spite of his goodness, tragedy touched Jesus’ life as well.

It seems to me that the moral of the story is this: Because we are not yet in heaven, this life will never be perfect. Still, God loves us and remains with us in everything. This is all we need to know.

Loving God, thank you for your ongoing presence as we make our way home to you.

©2018 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

So Generously Restored!

…he leads me beside still waters
and restores my soul.

Psalm 23:2-3

I ran from the moment I woke that morning. Before thinking about a little volunteer pitch which I’d deliver at Mass that evening, I forced myself to complete my morning exercises. Afterward, I did two loads of laundry while working on a few more of these daily reflections. Completing this little to-do list put me in the perfect frame of mind to ask others who are able to step up and occasionally help out with some fairly easy tasks at church.

After practicing my one-minute and fifteen-second speech, I noticed that the November rain had let up. Though the red line on my thermometer had not edged beyond forty-five that day, I couldn’t resist the oddly peaceful setting which lay beneath the cloudy sky. Though the beautiful fall colors which adorned my neighborhood were muted on that seemingly dismal day, the scene before me nudged me back to Psalm 23.

Though I had a bit more to do inside, I headed outdoors to walk. Every step of the way, God restored my soul. Even on that gray-hued day, God refreshed me.

Loving God, thank you for the many gifts with which you refresh us.

©2017 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

You’ll Always Be The Best!

Fill us at daybreak with your kindness,
that we may shout for joy and gladness all our days.

Psalm 90:14

Bad days used to be a rarity for me. I was always surprised when I seemed to have gotten up on the wrong side of the bed. I’ve never figured out which side of the bed is the wrong side. Still, in spite of my ignorance in this regard, for several weeks I’d managed to find that wrong side more often than not. In the midst of this string of cranky days, a much-loved voice called unexpectedly. If Katie* and I were engaged via FaceTime, she would have seen that I was doing a happy dance as we spoke.

As it happened, my little dance was short-lived because Katie had some scary news to share. A head injury from years ago has taken its toll and her memory will be affected. Katie has a loving family including a grandchild which adds to her concern. Still, Katie remained upbeat as she voiced her resolve to be the best she can for as long as she can. As she spoke, I whispered prayers for Divine Intervention regarding the duration of her ability to be the best she can. I’ve done the same ever since. Katie has always been 100% good enough for me. Still, I understand her worry.

Though Katie likely thinks that I’m doing her a favor by praying on her behalf, she’s the one who’s performed the good deed. Her call broke the spell those bad days had cast upon me. Katie has been my most consistent and vocal fan since I began writing in the public forum 25 years ago. As we spoke that day, Katie’s deep faith in God’s care for her reminded me that God cares just as deeply for me. Yes, Katie, you’ll always be the best you can be!

Loving God, give Katie a miraculously long string of “best she can be” days and months and years.

*I’ve changed Katie’s name to protect her privacy.

©2017 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

Rain Love

This, remember, is the message you heard from the beginning:
we should love one another.

1 John 3:11

A storm is brewing just beyond my window. I’m still reeling over the abundance of rain which flooded parts of our neighborhood a few weeks ago. Though our local television meteorologist offers encouragement with a promise that sunshine will return tomorrow, she fails to dispel the gray which lurks beyond my window today.

It occurs to me that my knowledge of human nature fails me as much as my understanding of weather patterns on occasion. I sometimes ignore this wisdom and “push buttons” that would best be left alone. Though I know well what will come next if I attempt to have the last word, I speak in spite of myself. When the thunder in my adversary threatens, I push when I should let go. I forget to let love take care.

Today, as the rain continues, I will continue in my own effort to dispel the gray clouds from my attitude and to let the sun shine in.

Dear God, though the weather is very much out of my control, my attitudes and actions are my own. Help me to use them both with love and good will.

©2017 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

R… Rejoice and Be Glad!

This is the day the Lord has made;
let us be glad and rejoice in it.

Psalm 118:24

R is for Rejoice. Though I’ve selected this uplifting R word, I realize that life on this earth doesn’t always give us reason to rejoice. On occasion, the only way to deal with this reality is to accept that things are what they are and to move on. Still, when I choose to move on, I do so reluctantly. I’m not fully convinced that the situation I’ve abandoned can’t be improved at least a little.

Last week, I had a very close encounter with negative forces. Rather than adding more negativity to the mix, I decided to be a positive catalyst. Perhaps I could give all concerned a bit of hope. Though my stomach was in knots as I plugged along, my effort paid off in the end. While I didn’t change much, I did manage to help those involved to adjust their attitudes. We turned our resignation into an opportunity to rejoice that things weren’t any worse. The most important aspects of all of this were the decisions of those concerned to be positive. I “decided” not to add to the negativity and my friends “decided” to jump onto my bandwagon. Together, we infused joy into a tough situation.

We can make the choice to rejoice and be glad anytime and anywhere. Today, I’m choosing to abandon my resignation about this less-than-perfect world. Today, I’m choosing to rejoice and to be glad.

Dear God, thank you for our capacity to rejoice and our ability to choose to do so. May our efforts transform the imperfections of this world one choice at a time.

©2017 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved