This all started with name-calling.

A young woman, a representative of this week’s client, called me a graphic rapporteur. I wasn’t sure at first what she had said. So I had her repeat it.

Not only have I never been called that, I didn’t even know what the word meant! But it made me laugh. And it prompted this addition to my journal.

The title calls for a flourish, don’t you think?

Tonight, as I walk around Boston, I am seeing flourishes everywhere. I love older cities, where buildings still display the creative touches of bygone days when there were budgets for hand-carved accents.

There are many faces – a rather unhappy lot they are, in general. But there are exceptions.

Often, the ornate floral embellishments on buildings can be somewhat feminine. But there are exceptions.

Note the letter. That’s one manly first initial.

As I walk, I think about what it would mean to add a flourish to one’s life. It would be something extra – a small addition to delight passersby – but keeping with the essence of the structure. So, for God’s people: a kindness, a word of encouragement, a small token of thoughtfulness. (Or in my case, a little drawing, perhaps, at unexpected times.) All of these accents are true to our new natures in Christ.

In the neighborhood of Beacon Hill, narrow streets are lined with old houses. In front, the flourishes are floral, as window boxes add vibrant splashes to the colonial hues.

Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. (Ephesians 4:32)

What kindness can I use to color my interactions tonight, tomorrow? For the people around me, like all people, need those tenderhearted words and actions. More than ever. Those pointers to the love of Jesus are more than just ornaments. They’re foundational to finding true life.

It’s a good reminder that flourish has yet another meaning.

Lord Jesus, help us to find ways, no matter how small, to add gestures of kindness into our interactions. We want the ways we treat people to be shaped by how graciously you’ve treated us, so that they also may thrive in the new life you grant your children.

I love to hear from you.  Email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. And if you liked this, please use the buttons above to share it!

Bruce Van Patter

As a freelance illustrator, graphic recorder, and author, Bruce is on a lifelong journey to delight in the handiwork of the Creator. And he’s always ready for fellow travelers.

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