I used to meet a group of friends at a local Farmer’s Market for coffee early in the morning.
One of our members, a psychiatrist, always had a hard time during the holidays because so many of her patients experienced this time with great depression. She worried about them and had a difficult time feeling any merriment at all.
We took it upon ourselves to create silly things that would make her laugh and we created these things throughout the season. We has more fun in the creation than the presentation. All of us laughed alot during these times.
One year we created postcards from people from the future that were leading the most outlandish lives in exotic places. Another year we created a catalogue loosely ( and I mean very loosely) based on the J. Peterman catalogue of personalized gifts for psychiatrists. Another year we found glittery tiaras which we insisted she wear with the rest of us.
The laughter absolutely made the holidays for all of us and hopefully for her as well.
Realizing the pleasure of creation, of going out of our way to lift someone up, to make them laugh, if only for a few minutes – this is the essence of encouragement.
Every year now, I create an Encouragement Project.
I may choose one person or several or just do random acts of encouragement throughout the season.
But every day, I try to do one thing. It may be a thank you note, a joke, a card, something silly that will cause laughter, a call, a gift card, a bunch of gift cards or presents – it doesn’t matter – just that it gets done.
The pleasure that I receive is so much greater than any that is given.
It lifts me up and takes me out of myself every day.
Of course I miss certain days when things are too hectic,
I try to circumvent this by making a list of things to choose from.
I invite you to contribute to the list and make one of your own.
Share your ideas because there is wealth of creativity so much greater than mine here and I would love to hear the things that you come up with!
Grant Grissom says
My own life experience has taught me the value and power of encouragement, so I am grateful for the Encouragement Project. I don’t send encouraging words every day or even every week unless I am reminded of the importance of doing that. When I read today’s post I sent this message to a friend who had just been accepted into a graduate program: "I wish you well at LaSalle. That course seems a "natural" for you, you bring so much to it in skill set, knowledge, instincts.and ministry."
For about 30 years I have been collecting quotations. Sometimes they express an idea better than I could, so I send a quotation with some of my own words wrapped around it. Here’s a couple that I have sent when they suited the recipient’s circumstances:
"To be nobody-but-yourself — in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else — means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight." (ee cummings)
"Kindness is in our power even when fondness is not." (Henry James}