Did you watch the Oscars this past Sunday? It is a bit of a ritual in our family. My mom was a lover of movies and each year would make it her goal to see all of the movies nominated for Best Picture. Then, she would settle in for the evening, along with good snacks, to watch the festivities. She always loved how beautiful the women looked and was often touched or inspired by some of the acceptance speeches. So, this was my first Oscar show without her. I had only seen one of the movies that was up for best picture but I watched the complete show, thinking, "Mom would have loved this!" I had talked to one of my sisters on Saturday. She was planning on continuing mom's tradition as well.
Though not always a huge fan of Hollywood and their ways, I must admit, one of the features of this particular Oscars event, totally inspired me! They did it for 4 categories… Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress. Five past winners were on stage for each category and spoke one at a time to the nominees. I was struck by how unscripted it seemed. Not that they hadn't written it down, practiced it or memorized it. But they were comments that seemed much more from the heart than from a teleprompter. The cameras spent more time focused on the nominees' faces, than the speakers' faces.
I was totally touched and inspired! I kept thinking of one of my favorite books entitled The Blessing by Gary Smalley and John Trent. It has been around for years and talks about the 5 aspects of giving a blessing. Two of them are "the spoken word" and "picturing a special future." Here were 5 previous winners, people who had achieved what the nominees had dreamed of, speaking blessing into their lives. I was struck by Shirley McLaine speaking to Anne Hathaway. Perhaps it was because of the two different generations that were represented. Older and wiser, she appeared calmer and more balanced than I had remembered her in the past. Her words to Anne were encouraging and hopeful, truly picturing a very special future for her career as a whole. It was obvious that none of it was lost on Anne. She understood the magnitude of the event and the source that it came from. It was as if she were trying to drink in every word, wanting to both enjoy the moment and remember every detail. I heard Kate Winslett interviewed later on in the week. In talking about this situation she said, "We all went home with a gift." That is truly how it seemed.
I thought about what it would mean to have that done by one of my role models or mentors. What if Max Lucado had read something I've written and loved it? I would be hanging on every word. My heart would be encouraged beyond belief and my perspective would be changed. That may never happen, but I do have two good friends whose words carry extra weight in my heart and spirit. I pay attention when they speak into my life, sometimes deliberately and sometimes without knowing it. I am ever thankful for the encouragement and strength they bring to my life.
I also thought about those whose lives I speak into. Who are they? Are my words a source of blessing? Do I illustrate special futures for my girls as they struggle to find their places in this world? Do I realize that there are always children watching? My husband and I went for half price appetizers at the restaurant where one of our daughters work (our 2 girls work at two different restaurants). While waiting for our food, two young girls appeared out of nowhere. They are 7 and almost 10. Though both my husband and I have taught them in different classes at church through the years, they came to my side of the booth for hugs. They stood and talked to us, explaining that it was their "girls' night out" with their grandma, that kids eat for 99 cents on Thursdays, how people think they are older than they are because they are so tall, etc., etc. When they walked away I told my husband that they are two walking examples of the power of a grandma's prayers. They have come a long way from a complicated home life and very challenging behaviors, to these delightful girls standing in front of us. I know grandma continues to speak into their lives, as do many of us that cross their paths. My husband and I may not be their "role models," but they did see us from across the restaurant and come for hugs. That tells me I've touched them in some way.
It's not the Academy Awards, the Nobel Peace Prize, the Emmys, or the Grammys. But people remember other people who genuinely cared and took the time for a kind gesture or encouraging word. We just never know who we'll touch and how. I'll have more about that next week! Until then…