Friday, January 23, 2009

Can I Cheer for You?

By Sarah Albrecht

A recent Wednesday started with an honor roll breakfast at my son’s junior high school, where he received a certificate for grades and a Top Cat award for citizenship from his teachers.

I cheered from a folding metal chair.

Then I met a childhood friend for brunch. We hadn’t seen each other in years, but given what I knew of her—she comes from an activist, political family and had married an Israeli, splitting her time between Israel and the U.S.—I imagined catching up with her would be exciting. It was. After she finished telling me about earning her PhD, working with Christians and Palestinians while being married to an Israeli, and helping with political campaigns, it was my turn.

Well, I said, at a bit of a loss. Can I just cheer for you?

Later that day, I scrubbed the bathroom, did laundry, cooked dinner, helped kids with homework, and spent a couple of hours in the Expedition carpooling kids to tennis, basketball, and young women at one spot and young men at another. Meanwhile, my husband, who was out of town for his company’s January kickoff meetings, was presented with an award for exceptional work during 2008. What did you do on Wednesday? He asked later.

Well, I said, at a bit of a loss. Can I just cheer for you?

After Wednesday, I couldn’t help but ruminate on the world’s standards of success. Certainly, recognition for achievement is wonderful. Setting goals to achieve is praiseworthy. But, as an unpublished, stay-at-home mom, if I relied only upon the world’s recognition for achievement, I could feel pretty small.

When much of what we do is not recognized by the world, thank goodness another standard exists for measuring personal accomplishment: charity. “Charity suffereth long, and is kind, and envieth not, and is not puffed up, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil, and rejoiceth not in iniquity but rejoiceth in the truth, beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things…Charity is the pure love of Christ” (Mor. 7:45, 47).

Without charity, in spite of other heights we may reach, we are nothing. With charity, even with no worldly recognition, we shall never fail. Indeed, we will merit the recognition of our maker. “And whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him” (Mor. 7:47).

I’m still setting goals, striving to achieve in writing and in life, and reaching, above all, for that often elusive charity…

So, looking at life through a different lens, can I cheer for you?

7 comments:

  1. I'll second that cheer, Stephanie!
    If we all measured our accomplishments through Christ's eyes, this world would have a lot more peace~!

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  2. Great post, Sarah. The most important things we'll ever do will be in within the walls of our own homes.

    Thank goodness the Lord truly recognizes success.

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  3. Thanks for your 'reminder' post! That is truly Christlike to be able to cheer for others. And to measure our successes against ourself is the best way to keep sane.

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  4. Wow, I need to spend more time cheering and less complaining

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