Hidden Message

I gazed at the bookshelf of well loved volumes from years gone by and pondered which one to choose. I had brought my own book to read but for whatever reason, it just didn’t feel right on this particular night. I selected a book somewhat randomly, satisfied that it would soothe the searchings of my soul. After settling into the cozy, warm bed in the upstairs room of my Dad’s Cape Cod home, I opened the tattered book and began to read.

I had finished the first absorbing chapter and a half of the book when I decided to call it a night. It had been a long day which included a lengthy drive from my home to the Cape. I had no bookmark and wanted to keep my place, so I took the cover off the old book to remember my page. Upon doing this, my eyes fell upon something amazing on the front blank page. My heart skipped a beat when I realized what I was looking at…

In her signature left-handed script, Mom was speaking directly to me (to all of us.) On the page in front of me, in a book that had been nestled deep inside my parent’s bookshelf, was her voice – in black ink – loud and clear. I stared at her hidden message for quite some time before smiling and offering a silent prayer of gratitude for this priceless gift. The back pain of the past few weeks had gotten me a bit down but Mom was reminding me NOT to focus on myself or my own struggles, rather to look outward toward the needs of others for true healing. From her life experience, she knew that inward focus brought little joy or lasting happiness, no matter how much one was hurting. It is only when we look to the other, in the midst of our own pain and indecision, that we find the face of God and in so doing discover enduring happiness.

“Believe, when you are most unhappy, that there is something for you to do in the world. So long as you can sweeten another’s pain, life is not in vain.” – Helen Keller

As we embark on Holy Week, perhaps we can keep Mom’s simple, yet profound hidden message in mind as we accompany Jesus to Calvary. In the midst of busy and complicated lives it is easy to get caught up in ourselves but nothing good ever comes from that. Saint Francis of Assisi reminds us “For it is in giving that we receive.” Perhaps then, we should focus our attention on those who are in great need of our heartfelt support. When we live for others, we help carry our Savior’s cross and lessen His burden. Lasting joy always follows as we sing Alleluia, Christ is Risen on Easter Sunday.

11 thoughts on “Hidden Message”

  1. I adore beloved Joanie’s message and I love and miss her deeply – it is so true her simple words that gathering “things” means nothing and will fade instantly, but our actions and creating happiness for others will live forever. It’s a wonderful way to live and so beautiful to carry that message through this Holy Week. Love you Jude. xo

  2. This is so beautiful. 💐 This is just what I needed to read. To ponder and reflect our Lord especially during this very Holy week.

  3. Hi Jennifer, Thank you for sharing this very special wisdom from your Mom. It came at just the right time for me. I have been sitting here all morning fighting back tears over an event that is unfolding in our family, causing me sadness. Your Mom’s words touched my heart and reminded me not to spend too much time dwelling on my sadness… but to look to others who are in need.

    Mary Frasier (WINGS)

    1. Dear Mary, I am so grateful to have you join the Choose Joy family! I am sorry for your pain. My mom was truly selfless in every way – especially when she was suffering from cancer and in pain. I think when we “look to others” we find that our pain is lessened. I’ll be praying for you. God bless. xoxo

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