A Good Place

Keeping One’s Mind and Heart in a Good Place

Walking through life with a smile on your face and a song in your heart is the best way to keep your mind and heart in a good place. Life has many turns and many trials, but when you keep centered on all the good that is in your life, the trials are short lived. Smiles are contagious. Ever notice how a room brightens up when someone walks in who is always smiling, always happy, always extending a warm greeting to others? What better gift can you give another, than a sincere smile.

I remember finding a young man sitting on a log, deep in an Oregon forest, many years ago, while hiking on a trail. The trailhead was some four miles from that spot, and I was somewhat surprised to find another person, alone, that far into the forest (I’d thought I was the only one who loved to hike alone). He was deep in thought, so I apologized for startling him. I commented on the beauty of God’s creation and asked if he’d like to share a sandwich and some coffee. Sitting down on the log next to him, I opened my backpack, and handed him half of my lunch.

A few moments passed when he turned to me, showed me a revolver, and told me he’d come to this remote spot with the intent of killing himself. When he saw me appear with a long beard, long hair, and dressed in my long black robe, he’d first thought I might be an angel, sent by God. He’d been praying that God would forgive him for what he was about to do. I assured him that I was indeed flesh and blood, and no angel. But I also told him that I was sent by God with a message. The message from God was that he was loved, and that God had a plan for his life, and this period of despair would soon pass.

He handed me his revolver, which I placed in my backpack, and we had a long conversation about his life. Eventually we walked together back to our vehicles. With the promise that he would return the revolver to his father’s desk drawer, I handed him the gun, and we parted ways.

I’ve long wondered about the direction his life must have taken after that encounter in the forest, so very many years ago. I’ve also wondered what may have happened if I’d continued on that trail without stopping to greet him, without offering a smile and a shared sandwich.

To this day I feel blessed that God allowed me to be His messenger on that lonely trail, and I try to be available each and every day as His messenger. When we make a concerted effort to be centered in Christ, each and every day, each and every hour, we make way for a heart and mind that is always in a good place, and we allow the love of Christ to be seen and experienced by others. When we put aside ourselves and put on Christ, we become God’s messengers.

Love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon

Photo: The encounter with the young man took place on the trail high above Multnomah Falls, on the Columbia River east of Portland, Oregon.

About the author

Fr. Tryphon is the Abbot of the Monastery of the All-Merciful Saviour, which was established in 1986 by Archimandrite Dimitry (Egoroff) of blessed memory. The Monastery is under the omophore of His Eminence Kyrill, Archbishop of San Francisco and Western America, of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia.

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