Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Real compliments...

Think of one the best or most recent compliments you've received. Who did it come from? Why was it given? One of my most beloved compliments was one written about Chip and me in an article about our family after the death of our little girl, Teagan. (See: www.bethel.edu/alumni/Focus/spring/03/teagan.html )
The author, Patty Thompson, spent a couple of hours with us talking about all we had been through and how we were dealing with life. So, part way into the story, she wrote "For a couple who has been through so much, the Ferlaaks are remarkably upbeat. "
I think what makes this one of my best compliments ever is that it is speaking not of something physical- but instead points to character. Most of you reading this know what has gone on in my life. It's not pretty or fun or enjoyable by any stretch of the imagination. Yet somehow, all the horrible events have not hardened my soul.
Sometimes I let the events get me angry or depressed or even negative toward other things in life, but somehow I am able to move through those moments and look for deeper meaning or find or create an outlet for the frustration that has built up.
Back to the topic of compliments. I think today would be a good day for all of us to seek an opportunity to pay someone a compliment. I think it should be sincere and speak to something other than beauty. Most people can do a certain amount of things to alter their appearance- but beauty is often totally out of a person's control. As if we can choose how tall we are or how thick our hair is or how smooth our complexion is. With various products we can do a small amount- but then it is often genetics or environmental issues. And besides- beauty is a relative term- no matter how People Magazine markets it...or any other media chooses to portray it. To get off the subject for a quick second, I joke to my husband Chip, "If you want me to be a size 2, I'll be that in Heaven. Down here you get what you get!" Just so you know- he's never pressured me to be a particular size- and that's one of the things I love about him. He accepts me the way I am.
So a small challenge for you; go out there and find a character quality that you admire in someone- maybe it is a talent that they have developed through hours of study and practice. Maybe it is a gift that they have used in a selfless manner. Maybe something, such as the way they spent their time, has affected you in a positive way. Today- let that person know that whatever it is within them has touched you- and you noticed it.
One final thought on compliments (and then you are welcome to email me your thoughts or leave them in the comments section here), they usually affect two people. The giver and the receiver. If you choose to share a compliment with someone today- I'll bet you anything that you'll both feel better about it- that's just an added bonus to you- the giver.
I'm off to tell someone that I really love something about them- and it just might be you! Thanks for reading this...you are a person who must love learning and gaining insight from others. I admire that in you!

2 comments:

Jody said...

For some reason the following link wasn't working on the previous blog page. Here it is again if you want to try this one: http://www.bethel.edu/alumni/Focus/Spring/03/teagan.html

Caren said...

I read your story and it touched my heart. Amazing how some people do fall apart with tragic events and other find more strength and inspiratin in living than they every thought possible in themselves. Life provides endless possibilities, it is always our option to choose which we take. Thank you for sharing so much of your life.