News From Terre Haute, Indiana

May 2, 2014

THE JOY LADY: Stories begin with a question, then a few more

Verna Davis
Special to the Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — I have a writer friend who has a question he asks himself at the beginning of his writing process.

He comes up with a hero/heroine and, in his imagination, he then puts them in a dangerous situation. Then he asks, “What if?”

He says the answer to that question is the plot of story.

What if my heroine is informed by the doctor that she is expecting a baby? What if her youngest child just turned 16? What if before she could gather enough courage to tell her husband the news, he loses his job? Hmm … interesting plot.

What if, for one day, without spending a penny, we would all pick just five ordinary people for whom we would do something extra-ordinary? What if we gave smiles and encouraging words, or anonymous notes or cards, or did something as humble as helping an elderly lady move her groceries from her cart to her car to five others? What if we did these acts of kindness in Jesus’ name?

What if you thanked the receptionist at the doctor’s office for always being cheerful and helpful? What if knowing that someone appreciated the good job she did made her encourage the good work of the teller at the bank? What if the teller at the bank was so encouraged by those words that she complimented a co-worker’s new her hair style, telling her how attractive it was for her? What if those words motivated the co-worker to call her daughter who was away at college just to remind her that she was loved? What if this daughter knew she was blessed to have such a good mother and walked to class with a broad smile on her face? What if the professor of her next class noticed the smile and went back to his office to email his wife just to tell her that one of the things he loved about her was her smile? What if that joy-filled wife decided to make a casserole for the elderly man who lived across the street and who always gave a cheerful wave from his front porch swing whenever she pulled into her own driveway? And what if that elderly gentleman left his swing to write a note to the choir director at his church to tell her that he enjoyed the choir and what a good job she was doing in directing the choir.

And what if that choir director … Well, you get the idea.

I’m not good with math, but I did figure that if just one reader chose five people to be extra kind to today, and then tomorrow, those five would choose five more to be extra kind to, within five days, 3,125 people would be doing something kind. In ten days, there would be 9,765,625 recipients of acts of kindness. In thirteen days, there would be over a billion people touched by a kindness done in Jesus’ name. A billion. As in lots and lots and lots of people.

What are we waiting on? We’ve got a billion people to reach with kindnesses done in the name of Jesus. It’s time to get to work.

Verna Davis, speaker and writer, may be reached at vrdspeaks@