Slightly More Elegantly

Okay, I vowed to post once per week, but I just have to share something I read in Grace (Eventually) by Anne Lamott.  It’s an observation that the author makes upon attending church one Sunday despite feeling a little yucky (my word, not hers).

Here’s Lamott’s view: “You have to be somewhere; better here, where I have heard truth spoken so often, than, say, at the DMV, or home alone, orbiting my own mind. And it’s good to be out where others can see you, so you can’t be your ghastly, spoiled self. It forces you to act slightly more elegantly, and this improves your thoughts, and thereby the world.”

We’ve all had days like that, days when we’d just as soon hang around the house in our jammies and watch television, read, and eat waffles at noon. Once in a while, I’ll give in to the urge if I’m truly under the weather or if it’s a conference weekend. Still, most of the time I take the time to dress in something that I feel is appropriate for the occasion and head out the door, and so far, I’ve never been sorry that I did. There’s just something uplifting and soothing (yep, that’s my word) to be in the midst of others who feel the way you do, to hear a few inspiring and/or instructional words, and to listen (perhaps even sing) to some beautiful music.

This past Sunday was no exception. I was reminded of the importance of serving others even if it’s in a small way. Sending notes, giving hugs, watching someone’s children, and paying compliments are all ways we can serve in our little corners of the world. I needed to hear that particular talk because sometimes it gets a little discouraging to read about the awesome generosity of Bill and Melinda Gates, Madonna, and Brad and Angelina. I recently read that Madonna supports six orphanages, supports as in keeps them going with food, electricity, water, employees, furnishings, and so forth. Who can compete with something like that? Not I. But I can bring school supplies next week for our humanitarian project.

A young man spoke about the importance of staying on course and warned that getting off course even a couple of degrees can have devastating consequences unless one alters the flight plan. Seth then reminded us of our eternal destination and the importance of making course corrections as soon as possible whenever we get off track a degree or two. The final Sacrament speaker encouraged his listeners to be prepared spiritually and financially for any and everything that life might hold in store for us.

Yes, I’ve heard all of those things before, but as Ben Franklin reportedly said, “Repetition is the mother of learning.” I’m glad I went. It forced me to act slightly more elegantly and improved my thoughts.

Author: jayne bowers

*married with children, stepchildren, grandchildren, in-laws, ex-laws, and a host of other family members and fabulous friends *semi-retired psychology instructor at two community colleges *writer

4 thoughts on “Slightly More Elegantly”

  1. Remember Jayne, to one person you may make a difference. Not all of us has the means to support orphanages…but we can help someone. It doesn’t have to be big it just has to BE. Thanks for helping me “stay the course”

  2. “We’ve all had days like that, days when we’d just as soon hang around the house in our jammies and watch television, read, and eat waffles at noon.”

    Oh, that’s sounds so COZY! All that’s missing from this picture is a quilt, a crackling fire, and some hot chocolate. Oh, yes, and my husband. 🙂

    One thing about making a difference, is that sometimes you don’t know when you are. If you live your life from a place of love, and endeavor to do good, you can’t help but affect people in ways you will never know.

    There is more power to living, loving, then we think. One is greater than none, right?

  3. i would like to hear you sing marlajayne…i have one more big thang before i die,, i have always wanted to sing in the hollow of his hand for my boys farewell, well that never happened, now i want to sing in the hollow of his had for one of my four grandsons, braydo is nine so i have ten years to practice, also you read such good books, i am in the proceess of getting my book to a publisher

  4. Wow. This is a good quote… good for me, at least. I guess there’s another book to read. You know, I’d be interested in a book list… Marla Jayne’s highly reccomended tomes. Or something to that effect. I could bookmark it and read them all one by one and try a little harder to achieve actualization… I’m dead serious. I don’t read enough self-improving literature. Suggestions?

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