Thursday, March 19, 2009

Encouragement


I got a call from my dad the other night.

The fact that he called isn’t unusual, but I must admit, I was surprised by why he called.

I’ve been working on my fifth book, tentatively titled “Whispers of Home”. It’s a novel about a girl named Emily, who leaves the comfort and peace of the Spirit World to come to mortality. Her life here, by comparison, at least, is chaotic and unpredictable.

Throughout the story, Emily has a few noteworthy encounters with her guardian spirit, Rosemary. And, at those times when Emily can’t see her, we know that Rosemary is always there, in some manner, to guide, strengthen, warn and help. On many occasions, Rosemary whispers encouragement and advice to the young Emily, thus, the title.

I wasn’t sure how my dad would react to reading about guiding spirits and life’s interactions from one side of the veil to the other, because his wife of six decades just passed away two months ago. I didn’t know if he would find the story encouraging, or if he would feel that it was too soon to think about such events, because of the raw emotions that come with sudden widowhood.

But, I took a chance.

This past Sunday, I took my little flash drive to his house and downloaded what I had so far written of the story. I put it on his desktop so he could read it when he felt ready to.

And, tonight, he called for the sole purpose of telling me how much he enjoyed it, and how happy the story had made him. In fact, when he first called, I asked how he was, and he answered with “I’m better now.” When I asked what he meant, he said that he felt better for having read only the first five chapters of my story.

I was taken by surprise. I mean, I would never think my dad would say anything negative either about me or my creative work, but to call simply to tell me my writing made him happy? To call just to encourage me in this particular work?

It was a call I’ll never forget.

My dad has always been one to encourage, and that’s one of the reasons he’s my hero. I remember all through my growing-up years, dad would always find something to tell me that would encourage me. If I wasn’t doing so well in school, he would encourage me to do better. If I was doing particularly well at something, he would encourage me to continue. Never did my father make me feel like I was a failure.
He always, always encouraged me.

So, here’s your challenge for today:

Think about the people in your life. Don’t just focus on those who guest star in your own movie of life, think about the bit players and the extras, too.

Of those, who do you know that could use your encouragement?

Remember, to be effective, memorable and meaningful, service doesn’t have to be a large, cumbersome or time-consuming project. Small and simple service acts have great meaning to the recipient.

Think about your own interactions with those who have encouraged you. Did they have to call you up on stage and give you an award in front of hundreds of people? Did they have to announce your name in the news or over the radio? Sure, those are nice things, but I bet if you searched your memory, you can think of times when you received encouragement from someone who took the time to call you up, or mail you a thank you note, or even sent you a short email.

You can do it, too.

Think of someone and encourage them.

Pick up the phone and call them.

Write and mail a nice thank you card.

Send them a short email.

Make it personal and make it real. Don’t fabricate something, for, in the end, you both lose when you’re insincere.

Thank them for something they’ve done well, and encourage them to continue.
Recognize their efforts for something they may struggle with, and encourage them to keep at it.

Offer to help if you have the time and ability, or offer to point them to the help they need if it’s something you can’t help them with.

But, whatever you do, do it.

Do it today.

Find someone to encourage, and then encourage them.

Let them know you care.

Just do it.
Thank you for reading my post today. It makes me feel good knowing I can help you make a positive impact on someone else’s day – on someone else’s life.

Please pass it on. Stumble this, paste it into an email and send it to a friend or two (please don’t spam). Retweet. Repost. Share.

But most of all, please keep coming back.

And remember, Service is the Action Form of Love.

James

1 comment:

nicole said...

very inspiring =) thank you James.