My “When Life is Sucky” File

20140601-155919.jpgEverybody needs one.

In my previous life, I called it my “Why I Do What I Do” file. It’s the collection of emails and letters I read when I need to remember my purpose in life.

Now that my life includes an expanded glimpse into Church World, I renamed the file “When Life is Sucky” in 2011. (Church World is occasionally often difficult.) The file includes no “You are the greatest!” messages. Mostly the notes say something like “You probably don’t realize that you helped me, but you helped me” messages. I’d rather receive one of these emails than a dozen of the “You are the best pastor ever” messages. Some of my favorites include

  • A thank you from the parents of a twenty-something church member who was grateful that our church had been there for their daughter after college.
  • An appreciation for saying in a pastoral prayer on Mothers’ Day that some mothers are terrible.
  • A note from Session members that our Presbytery had helped them navigate a critical situation.

Notes like these are basically not about personalities or happiness or individual achievement. They are more about being and doing what we were created to be and do.

So, faithful readers, my hope on this 2nd day of June in the year of our LORD 2014 is that we would consider:

  • Asking ourselves who has made life meaningful for us?  Who helped something click for us?  Who unwittingly said or did the perfect thing at just the right moment for us?
  • Sending that person a thank you.

And maybe someone will send a similar note of thanks to you, and then we can add it to our “Life Is Not Sucky” file. We not only need one of these files; we need to add to the files of others.  Because – actually – life is pretty great.  We just need reminders.

Image is from a precious letter in my files that removes random suckiness from any given day.

4 responses to “My “When Life is Sucky” File

  1. Many teachers have our “Smile File” where we keep those precious handwritten notes from students and parents reminding us of why we do what we do. Great reminder to send those same notes to others.


  2. Jan – often times, the thoughts you express on your blog uplift, convict, challenge and discourage me. Your musings make me think and laugh and cry. You share your rich, dynamic (read -NOT STUCK IN THE PAST/MUD) perspective on life and ministry. Thanks, friend.


  3. Yes, yes, yes. It doesn’t matter if you’re a pastor, a teacher, or just a mom — those little notes serve to remind us why we do what we do.


  4. Pingback: This Week’s Links « Timothy Siburg

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