Balcony or Basement?

Tuesday May 24, 2011


I interact with countless people everyday. Students, parents, colleagues, my own children, my husband, the cashier in the grocery store.

And everyday I have a choice to make.

Balcony or basement?

Will my response lift someone up or pull them down?

So many times a day, a look, a smile or frown, or an answer empowers me. I often don’t even realize that what I say and do will affect those around me. Oh, I get the big stuff – the compliment, the insult, the sarcasm.

But the offhand response – or the lack of it – can carry meaning, too. King Solomon wrote, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue” (Proverbs 18:21).

And all too often, I’m not on the balcony or in the basement, I’m just camping out on the landing. By myself, probably looking in the mirror, thinking about me.

That’s when I let the opportunity to praise someone pass me by. A couple of weeks ago I wrote about the compliant child. That’s the pleaser, the one you expect to do well and to expend the extra effort. And he doesn’t need your praise to do that, either, so you usually don’t lavish him with it. But he needs to hear he’s appreciated and of value, too. Because he is; but we just don’t say it because we think he’s okay without it.

Take an extra second today and consider your response. Can you give the grumpy cashier a smile or offer to bag those groceries yourself? Can you thank your child for doing what he’s supposed to do? There’s nothing wrong with expressing gratefulness for others’ faithfulness.

"Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones." (Proverbs 6:24)

So join me as I step off the landing. I have a bit of climbing to do. But my steps will be seasoned with sweet words.

Linking up with Jen at Finding Heaven Today for Soli deo Gloria. Click on over and come along with us!

And, before you go -- here's a real opportunity to put hands and feet to those words today. Bigger Picture Blogs has put together Help 4 Joplin, an organization that's hosting an online auction to raise funds for The Salvation Army in Joplin, Missouri. Items for the auction have been donated by a number of businesses, and all proceeds from the auction will directly benefit relief efforts in Joplin. There's more information here about how you can help spread the word, too.

Help4Joplin

Let's step off the landing together and give someone a hand up -- through words and actions.

16 comments:

Jenny Roan Forgey said...

Thanks for this. I need to remember it when I'm sleep-deprived and hungry and have whining toddlers in the backseat. "Balcony or basement?" AMEN!

Also, wanted to say that I feel like you're a big bubble of joy every time I come across you - whether it's in comments on other people's blogs, here at your site, or on my blog. You are genuinely positive and encouraging. It impacts me, and I am grateful for it. I know it takes energy. Thank you.

Corinne said...

I would never picture you as choosing the basement :)
Thank you for spreading the word, lady.

Jen said...

I love it when people write with such strong visual images. Balcony or basement -- this is something that I can so carry with me throughout my days.

marlece said...

This challenges us, it is so easy to live in that basement and not come out. Jesus didn't intend for us to do that....no He does not! Way to go, and great illustration.

Hyacynth said...

Thanks so much for helping us spread the word about Help 4 Joplin.
Also, that is a most EXCELLENT visual. I'm taking this one with me. And I'm choosing the belcony!

stephanie said...

I agree...this is an amazing visual...all day tomorrow, and hopefully for a long time after...I can hear myself asking...balcony or basement! Thank you for this post!

janicejohnson said...

Balcony, please! Thanks for the great post.

Hands to Work, Hearts to God said...

Always good to be reminded to be more sensitive about our words. I can say that God has been training me (and my whole family!) about the power of words. We can be a conduit of God's grace and blessing if we are more disciplined with our tongue! Patsy from
HeARTworks

Amber said...

Great post.

When I was a young teen and working at the local Sonic, I had a very rough day and was on the verge of tears all day. And I was really stressed about something so I was not paying real close attention to the orders. I had a customer and messed up her order a few times in a row.
She was very kind to me and told me not to worry about it and that she was not upset.
Then ahwile later she returned through the drive through, I went over expecting to find that I had messed up yet agian. But instead she had flowers that she gave to me and said she hoped it would brighten my day.
It did. I made a huge difference then and even now.
I don't remember what I was so worried and stressed about but I rememeber her, and how much it meant that she went out of her way to make me feel better.

The kind things you do and the kind words you say to another can stick around much longer than just that moment. Same hold true for unkind words or actions.

Pamela said...

I love Proverbs 6:24... Gracious words do heal. My husband can make those who wait on us smile and find their cheerful attitude just by showing interest in their life. I try to follow his example!

Blessings,
Pamela

Karen said...

I love how you explained this. And you are right about the one who always does well, needs the affirmation, too. Thanks!

Mrs. M. said...

Take your time today and consider your response...it is not easy to do this especially if you are having a bad day.

But once you are obedience to His prompting - you are so blessed!

Mrs. M.

Laura said...

Last night, in a state of frustration I gave a response to someone that was from out of the basement. It ruined my night. I wish I had read this yesterday, Laura! Sometimes I need reminded to take a deep breath and wait before responding. *sigh* Work in progress. That's me.

Ann Kroeker said...

Very catchy: basement or balcony. That'll stick.

April said...

This was a great post and I am glad to have read it! Being a balcony person to others is so very important, especially in a day and age where there are more people tearing each other down than ever!

Heidiopia said...

Words are so powerful and once they're out there, you can't take them back. Thanks for reminding us to use our words wisely, constructively, lovingly.
Enjoy your weekend, Laura, and Happy Summertime to us!!

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