My father has said that one of the problems in the world is that nobody builds porches any more. There was magic in a big beautiful porch with comfortable chairs where friends and neighbors could sit for a spell and share a joy, a secret, or a trouble, along with a glass of lemonade. This image conjures up a longing for a more Mayberry-esque time. But surely the comfort, friendship and love felt in such an exchange depends very little on a physical structure built around a house, but instead on the welcoming porch that each of us can build around our heart.
In this beautiful book, “Only Love Today,” Rachel Macy Stafford invites everyone to come on up onto her porch as she shares her stories, her journeys and her heart with you. As you look out and enjoy the view, you will delight in each of the seasons of nature and the seasons of life and each of the unique and special gifts they bring. The book is divided into four sections, complementing each season of the year. There are no instructions to read a section each day. Skip to very last page if you like and then tomorrow, start at the middle. Let your heart be your guide.
The story of how the phrase “Only Love Today,” came to be is told in the book and it is a beautiful story. It became a treasured talisman for the author against the powers of the inner bully and against the power of hatred. In this book, there is no attempt to white-wash the sometimes harsh realities of life. This is no self-help book where you will find the perfect a+b=c equation for getting what you want out of life. But in those three simple words, Rachel reminds us, as Viktor Frankl once so eloquently did: “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” In every moment, no matter what our circumstances may be, we can choose to feel love, express love, be love in all the ways that we can be.
I have followed Rachel’s blog for years now and in her I have found a sort of cyber big sister/neighbor/dear friend. That is the magic of Rachel Macy Stafford. Her heart and her presence are in her words. The image is the reality. You can trust her. As I was talking about this book to my parents the other night and reading them some of the underlined, starred, and tear-stained passages, these four words summed it all up, “She has changed me.”
So as Rachel would say, “Come as you are.” Come on up and join us here on the porch swing. Come learn about the power of “soul-building words” and seeing life as a “Noticer.” Come gain strength to share your stories and your heart with those who are or who would dearly love to be visitors to your own porch. Enjoy a glass of lemonade while you read and take a long, sweet, deep breath of the fresh air.