Love

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love.

But the greatest of these is love.

When we are trying to make sense of these times and to do and say whatever we can to make the world a better place to live, it can be challenging.  I believe that love will always be more powerful than anything that is not love.

There are so many examples of how goodness, even in the smallest acts of kindness, can change hearts and transform lives when done with the faith, hope, and love of God.

Faith, as small as a mustard seed, can move mountains.  You may be moving the mountain one stone at a time, but it can be done, with faith in a higher purpose and with others that have that calling.

Having just a glimmer of hope can make all the difference in emotional and physical healing.  We are moved when we see even the smallest example of encouragement offered to someone who needs it.  We need hope to believe in ourselves and others.  Hope keeps us going when life is hard.

Our attempts at love, no matter how meager, become so much more powerful when we let God love through us.  Like a single candle, love can light up the darkness.  Like a small stone thrown in the lake, love can create so many waves.  As with all the resources God gives us, God multiplies our love, no matter how limited it may seem, when we choose to love with grace and mercy, compassion and forgiveness.

When you think that your efforts, no matter how small, can’t make a positive difference, think of Margaret Mead’s quote, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

Here is a song I wrote called “Small Wonders” about how something small can make a big difference.

Song

Send My Mail to Nashville

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Stacey K. Black, producer, director, editor, and singer songwriter, spent two years of her life creating the music documentary, “Send My Mail to Nashville”.  It’s an extraordinary movie and I was grateful to be one of the many songwriters she featured. Her film offers a powerful and touching inside look at the songs and stories by songwriters as they live and work in a city with an estimated 55,000 songwriters. Interviewing songwriters at all levels, Stacey thoughtfully shows the peaks and valleys songwriters go through.

The film does an excellent job telling the songwriters’ stories and the various ways they create, record, perform, and promote their music.  It is clear that Stacey genuinely cares for the songwriters she features.  She shows how fun, but also how challenging, making a living with music can be in “Music City”.  Filled with plenty of great, original songs and impressive performances, the movie features Trevor Finlay, Jennifer Friend, Kevin So, Joe First, Shashi Light, Jack Frisby, Stacey K. Black, Don Hillaker, Peggy Hustad, Joel Shewmake, Lydia Smith, and Steven Wylie.

“Send My Mail to Nashville” has been making the rounds with film festivals and will be released in the near future.  For more information, go to the movie’s Facebook page at

www.facebook.com/SendMyMailToNashville

 

The best is yet to come

Chart

 

Here’s a chart that I came up with recently, about expectations about a future event and then how rewarding the event actually ends up being.  The chart shows the potential emotions a person can feel with the various levels of reward (on the vertical axis) and levels of expectation (on the horizontal axis).  For example, if you have high expectations that a future event will be very rewarding to you and it’s not, you will be disappointed.  It is possible that you will be less satisfied in that situation than with any other combination of reward level and expectation level.

Although I believe in having a positive outlook on the future overall, I also think that there needs to be a balance with how low or high our expectations are about any one future event.  Thinking that the best is yet to come and having a sense of hope for the future in general is good.  But expecting too much from any one experience can lead to disappointment.  Like when you have heard great things about a new restaurant and your meal turns out to be just average, you are often more dissatisfied than if you had no, or low, expectations about the food.

So, maybe we need to try to find a balance between feeling good about life overall, but not having overly high expectations about a particular event, person, thing, or place.

Accepting – low expectation and low reward. If you keep your expectations low about a potential reward and do not receive it at all or do not receive it at the level that feels rewarding, you can feel a sense of acceptance.

Elated –low expectation and high reward. This usually will mean that you will be at a higher level of satisfaction than any other of the options. You will be more likely to be pleasantly surprised and feel more gratitude when you kept your expectations low or weren’t even anticipating a reward at all.

Satisfied – high expectation and high reward. If you have high expectations and receive a high reward, you may feel satisfied, but not at the “Elated” level.

Disappointed – high expectation and low reward. This will be the least satisfying situation and may even result in feelings of loss or failure because you fully expected the reward and did not receive it at all or did not receive it at the level you wanted.