#11 In a Word…..
In a Word…..
One beautiful yellow rose was all it took to lift my spirits one evening last week. It had been a particularly difficult week, as we had transitioned Dad into the nursing home the day before. The rose was simply left on top of my purse; no note, no one taking the credit. But the gesture spoke volumes. Someone was thinking of me and encouraging me to stay the course. Most likely someone who understood what I was going through. It was then that I paused to think about how important it is for us to encourage one another in life; no matter what the season. How many times have you been through a struggle and someone has come along to encourage you? How many times have you been “that person” to a friend or family member?
Recently, I was trying a new diet plan and was discussing it with a colleague during lunch one day. From that moment forward, she took it upon herself to encourage me in my journey. She stopped me in the hallway and asked how the program was going, and would comment that she could see the fruits of my labor. Although I only worked in her building one day a week, she made it a point to sit with me most of the time. All too soon, during one lunchtime conversation I learned that her previous cancer diagnosis had returned; this time to ultimately take her life. Her legacy, at least to me, was that of Encourager. Her words and kind gestures meant the world to me.
I recently ran across a wonderful quote by Jerome P. Fleishman, who has this to say about the importance of encouragement: “ Most of us, swimming against the tides of trouble the world knows nothing about, need only a bit of praise or encouragement – and we will make the goal.” How wonderful to think that we can make that big a difference in someone else’s life with a few simple words of inspiration. With one hearty word, we can prop someone up to help them through the circumstances of life.
Words are so very important; they can tear down or they can build up. They can motivate or they can destroy. The past few weeks and months I have been keenly aware of those who appear to have a gift for encouraging others. They send cards or make a phone call. They leave notes or simply share a hug. Encouragers are the ones who help make the rest of us feel better about ourselves; make us feel like we can carry on even when we are struggling. They make our lives better in seemingly small ways that speak volumes.
Those of us in the empty nest phase of life undoubtedly have days when we need encouragement. We also have days when we can offer encouragement to someone else. If a friend is struggling with the “new normal,” we can help them by telling them that we understand. We can validate their feelings and help them to see the potentially wonderful things that they can experience even now. We can motivate each other to identify our individual gifts and use them to find new ways to impact our world. We can also encourage young adults by acknowledging the unique stresses of their stage in life and helping them to work through them.
This week I would like to challenge each of us to take a moment to encourage and motivate those around us. Sometimes a word of encouragement is all that a person needs in order to rise above their current circumstances and push forward.