I had a conversation with someone recently, I’ll call her Mandy, who was very taken with the concept of the Law of Attraction, made popular in the 2006 film The Secret. I am a bit skeptical of the concept, which seems a bit woo-woo to me, but Mandy’s perspective was pretty compelling. I was interviewing her for another blog I write for, about her work volunteering at an orphanage in Romania. Perhaps it was because we were talking about an experience that was very profound, caring for severely disabled children who had been abandoned; whatever the reason, our conversation dipped pretty deep for having just met.
And so towards the end of the interview, Mandy told me about her difficult childhood and family life, including mentally unstable parents and a brother in jail, and the reasons she believed she had come out whole on the other end, willing and able to give of herself with such compassion to those in need. She believed it had to do with her decision to see the positive in all situations, and to exude positivity herself, which she received back in kind, often way more than she felt she had given.
Mandy told a beautiful story of how she had led her family to express their love for each other. For years she had yearned to hear her parents, and the grandparents who raised her, say they loved her. In the end, she cracked through their shells by taking a deep breath and saying she loved them, repeatedly, over a number of years. Finally, they began to say it too—and not just to her, but to each other, too, greatly changing the dynamics of their family. This story has stuck with me, as has something Mandy said toward the end of our conversation. She said that she believes the psalms of the Bible, and the way that Jesus prayed, demonstrate this same principle: expressing immense gratitude, first and foremost, and believing wholeheartedly in the goodness that is and that will be.
If any psalms embody this concept, certainly the beautiful words of Psalm 23 do. “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want … he refreshes my soul … Even though I walk in the dark valley I fear no evil, for you are at my side … my cup overflows.” Beautiful words and images, enriched and grounded for me in the life experience of Mandy. I am grateful to her for sharing her story and her wisdom.
Kate Lucas is a writer in Minneapolis, MN. Her cup overflows with the deep blue sky and leaves glowing with sun that July in Minnesota brings.