In my bedroom is a clock with the inscription “Take time to laugh.” The clock was a college graduation gift from my friend Jill. The advice inscribed on the clock is from the poem “Take Time,” a favorite of ours. Less than a year after we graduated, Jill passed away unexpectedly. That saying—along with the memory of my friend—now serves as a daily reminder to live my life to its fullest.
My house is filled with little quotes and quips. They adorn my dresser, my walls, my refrigerator, my office. I have even incorporated them in my home decorating. They serve as a source of comfort, a challenge or a gentle reminder.
When I was growing up, my family responded to most situations with a saying, a quote or a passage. An especially troublesome day was met with, “God only gives you what you can handle.” When I was not feeling so charitable to others, I was reminded, “Do unto others....”
So perhaps that is why I’m so drawn to the Book of Proverbs in the Bible.
A Book to Which I Can Relate
The Book of Proverbs was initially attributed to Solomon, but actually has a number of sources that are mentioned later in the book. It was probably completed in the early part of the fifth century B.C.
The beauty of the Book of Proverbs, though, is that it speaks about a wide range of actual life experiences. At any given time, there’s something there for everyone. And it doesn’t ignore life’s challenges. I know that I don’t have to be perfect to enjoy the proverbs.
In fact, chances are it has something pertinent when I’m not perfect. And I can learn from that. Just as that quote from my friend reminds me to laugh, the Book of Proverbs reminds me to pick myself up, dust myself off and try again. Next time I might just get it right. As a full-time working mom of two kids—with a third on the way—that’s very comforting.
A Living Book
That’s why I find the Book of Proverbs to be the most welcoming book in the Bible. There’s something in there for everyone. We all have our own life struggles and experiences. Take those experiences with you into Proverbs.
• Make an effort to browse through Proverbs, marking the ones that jump out at you or really seem to relate to your life and experiences. Go ahead and mark as many as you want. You can always go back later and reflect more deeply on the ones that really speak to you.
• Bring the proverbs to life. With kids starting back to school this month, start slipping a quote in their lunch each day. It could be a proverb or some other bit of wisdom that you would like to share with them for that day.
• Take time to reflect on some of the proverbs and how they apply to your life. Is there one that challenges you to change something in your life? Or does a certain proverb affirm something you’re already doing?
• Write down special quotes. My grandma always used to tell me, “There’s nothing so bad that something good doesn’t come out of it.” I’ve hung onto and believed in that my entire life. Are there quotes that you grew up with that hold special meaning for you? Ask your family members if any of them have special quotes, sayings or proverbs that have meaning for them. Compile those quotes in a notebook. If there is a story that accompanies the quote, include that also.
• Invest in an inspirational quote book with quotes that you’re most interested in. For instance, I own a number of books containing Irish quotes, sayings and blessings. I also own quite a few about motherhood.
Well Said: Children’s Words of Wisdom, by Bridget Haase, O.S.U., is a collection of children’s wise sayings available from St. Anthony Messenger Press (28 W. Liberty St., Cincinnati, OH 45202; phone 1-800-488-0488).
Next Month: Reinforcing Everyday Faith Customs