Monday, July 7, 2014

Boomerang Words…and Their Lessons

Boomerang Wordsthe ones that come back to us.  Some fly back to thump us on the head. Hard. I’ve had a few doozies.  

But others have been a wonder.

When Sam and I were dating, there came a point when he wanted to know about my mother and step-father.  In 22 years of life, I had made up a lot of stories about them, but looking into Sam’s dark browns, I didn’t have it in me to lie to him.  Not directly, anyway. That’s when I wrote “The Story of Ingrid and Richard”—for his reading pleasure.

Theirs was a great love story of high adventure and travel.  They were utterly faithful and loyal to one another.  They were kind and thoughtful in a hundred subtle ways.  He was noble and had incredible strength of character.  And together they laughed.  A lot.  Their story included dancing—not all of it good—which added to their charm.  

I penned three pages of (poorly written) whopping Ninth-Commandment Transgressions.  

Never mind what happened a couple of months later when Sam asked to meet these people.

This isn’t about that.

This is about ten married-years later, when I found the fabricated words and realized that what I had written was my own love story.


Fast forward to Madeline wanting to date Aaron.  Aaron, an agnostic vegetarian with different political leanings.  Sam said fine—as long as Aaron came to the house for Bible study on Wednesdays, and to church with us on Sundays. 

Aaron agreed without pause, and for almost four years, it was our routine.  Shortly into that four years, we added dinners and outings—mainly because we came to love Aaron, and he came to love us.

But this isn’t about that.

This is about when Madeline transferred to UVA.  Something happened to her faith.  It wasn’t that she didn’t have it—it was more like she was tired of it.  The last thing she wanted to do was think about God, and have restrictions put on her when she was finally free of parental oversight.  She certainly didn't want to go to church—which her father was encouraging (according to him) and insisting upon (according to her).   Sometimes she'd look up a church on the Internet so she could tell her dad she’d been to their 11:00 am servicewhile giving him a few erroneous details (a chip off the old block).

By the time Madeline and Aaron got married, she had a renewed faith.  We learned afterwards that during the critical time, Aaron had gently spoken into Maddie the words Sam had spoken into him during their Wednesday night Bible studies.


When my children were young, they loved visiting Sam’s parents.  I thought how awesome it would be if the kids could run over to see their grandparents whenever they wanted instead of what we were doing—making elaborate plans in order to visit.  I said something about it to Sam’s dad when he was talking about retiring—he loved the idea.  We even looked at a beautiful piece of wooded property where we could each build our own homes, yet be close.

But Sam’s dad put off retirement, and by the time he was ready, it was too late—a week after retiring, he’d get a cancer diagnosis.

A month before the birth of our first grandchild, my son-in-law Aaron was diagnosed with acute Multiple Sclerosis.   Most of the doctors we’ve gone to, have never seen a case this aggressive.

But this isn’t about that.

It’s about how the words, the hopes, that had already been formed for one set of grandchildren and grandparents came back to me.  We could build houses adjacent to one another, and in addition to being available to help Aaron and Madeline, our grandchildren would be able to run over and see us without us making elaborate plans.


We don’t know what the future holds for Aaron’s health (things are looking better every day), but it doesn’t even matter.  Building our lives so we are in walking distance of one another is something that appeals to all of us, regardless of other factors.

Boomerang Words…

They’ve taught me a few things:

--Dreams—Sometimes God gives us the desires of our heart before we even know Him—it’s as if He beckons us to Him through them.

--Speak good things into people—even into someone who is very different from you.  You may find he is not so different after all.  You may find a depth of unexpected love.  You may find a son-in-law who blesses you.

--Don’t be self-centered.  The more you hope for others and give to others, the more will be returned to you.  It’s not the reason for hoping and giving, only a natural by-product.

--Since we have no way of knowing which words will come back to us, think, speak, and write words of goodness and beauty and love—when they come boomeranging back, they will fill you with an abundance of the same.

Some of my favorite words of goodness and beauty and love dwell in The Sermon on the Mount.  When I read those (and many other) Words of God, it brings dreaming and speaking and hoping and giving to the surface—ready to sow into the world.

I hope your lives are filled with these things, both in the giving and the receiving. 

All in Goodwill,

P.S. About fibbing.  I have learned to love the truth—without it there is nothing, can be nothing.  Those skills I honed early in life, though, have been pretty handy when it comes to writing fiction.


  1. ". . .words can be a powerful healing tool if used with loving intention, to uplift, encourage and inspire." John McLeod Thanks for the insightful reminder.

  2. Seeing God work through all of your lives - to watch Him weave Himself in and out and around - Masterful! God has shown and continues to show His mighty hand, for sure!

    1. He's woven in and out before we even know Him!

  3. And your love story is unparalleled in my mind. Reading this makes me want to choose my words very carefully and weight them with unconditional love for the boomerang's return trip. Your up-and-coming generations are so blessed by the heritage you're giving them. Isn't that just like God to let you write your own (future) love story.

    1. Nancy, yes, it is just like God. I feel like even though I didn't know Him at the time, He knew me--giving me the desires of my heart--and that's what I expressed in the story that would be my own.

  4. Replies
    1. I have so many of these stories, Verna. They fill me with faith that there is a loving and involved heavenly Father.

  5. Ohhhh, you've packed a wallop in this piece, Lisa. The boomerang principle is at work in so many ways on so many levels, and you've beautifully and poignantly reminded us of why this really, really matters.

    You also said something very profound in your response to Laury and Nancy -- that God knew us even before we knew Him and was working on our behalf pouring out His amazing love and blessings.

    1. Thank you, Elizabeth--I bet you have some incredible stories of words coming back to you through the note-writing alone. Have you ever thought of compiling them?

  6. I love these words & lessons Lisa. This one's really going to stay with me!