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“Choose Something Substantial” 


Rev Liz Petipren

By Reverend Liz Petipren



We live in a great Country! One morning when I arrived at the Miami airport after flying all night, I was quite tired and did not feel well. I walked into a coffee shop and ordered some orange juice. The waitress, a jovial Hispanic woman, asked me, “Is that all you’re having, sweetie? Why don’t you have something substantial for breakfast?” 

I felt very touched. Here in the midst of a highly impersonal airport, with thousands of people milling around, this dear woman took a personal interest in me. Suddenly if felt better. “Yes, I will have something more substantial,” I told her, and I ordered a bagel and cream cheese – all the tastier for the care she took in serving it to me. On a deeper level, that dear woman served me something far more substantial than a bagel and cream cheese. She served me kindness and compassion, the best meal there is. 

It is easy to get caught up in the busyness and doingness of daily life. Yet there are moments in every day when we take a breath of fresh air for our spirits. They are the moments we say ‘hello’ to a stranger in the elevator, laugh with the man selling us a newspaper, or come home and have the dog greet us like a celebrity. When it is time for us to leave this life, those will be the moments we will remember. They are the ones that count. 

While those substantial moments seem to come randomly, you have the power to create more of them. You can begin your business call by asking your colleague how his son is doing in college, or tell the cafeteria server she is looking especially radiant today. When a boy nearly runs into you with his skateboard, you can tell him what a cool board he has. When someone complains about the economy, you can offer a note of confidence that things will get better. 

We in America are free! And even though substantial moments can happen to us anywhere at any time, our freedom to choose well is what puts value on what we do.  

Affirmation: “I build my life on values that really count; I seek, find, and create joy wherever I can.” 

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