Words that matter:
Gratitude: perhaps more important and more neglected. For whatever reason I get an emotional rash when people presume you will help them…and you do…and they say nothing. Worst when it happens with your closest friends. Gratitude should trump presumption every time. Not occasionally.
Discernment: learned from Doug Meeks, professor who taught me that stewardship’s more than a dollar sign. Gets so I look at everything and think of what exactly I’m seeing. A detective does far more than see clues; a detective sees layers of reality. Because only a few people are shallow down deep.
Which leads to another word,
Triage: when starting every day and considering what should and might get done, list the projects in terms of what’s essential and what’s okay but maybe tomorrow. The most competent people I know prioritize with impressive skill and realize they are never all things to all people.
Value: everyone has value. Try to discover that and don’t mute about it. I’m a DNC guy but found the recent GOP confab each candidate brought importance to improving our country. Yes, even the self-congratulating one.
Covenant: Not just in marriage or church membership. Covenant—back to Doug Meeks again—means a relationship between at least two people [or with an organization/church] in which EACH gives their fullest for the good of the relationship. It might be termed “mutuality realized.”
Just: Perhaps the most important word NEVER to use. Why? Because it’s so self-denigrating and self-subjugating. “I’m just one guy.” Not!
Humor: This comes off best when spontaneous. When you open a door for someone, someone you don’t know: “Ah, your timing is perfect.” This also comes off best when you see something or someone and can be affirming, “Ah, you and your children and your dog…wish I had a camera. You all make a great picture.” It’s not wrong to help someone smile…and maybe…just maybe…help them feel better about themselves.
Having and Being: Know the difference between having and being. Much if not most in our society believe the more we have the better we are. To paraphrase Descartes, “I have, therefore I am.” I don’t believe that. I believe virtue comes from giving and with that, I believe the more I give the better I am. Generosity and growth? One leads to the other. Having and being: oxymoronic. Put another way, you cannot take it with you…for instance, I’ve never seen a hearse with a luggage rack.