I’ve been thinking about the word practice lately. I know that I’m probably a lot further behind the curve than most people.
For me it used to be associated with things that seemed dull or painful – like piano lessons when I was 12.
But lately, I’ve been realizing that starting a practice around something we want to get better at, is the road to raising our skill and awareness. I’ve always practiced the things that came easily to me: reading, tennis, fun (really easy), laughter( easier still). Now that I am exploring encouragement I’m realizing this is a place where many of us don’t know where to start.
I am reminded of a short conversation I had with my father after one of his best friend found out he was dying. I asked him if he called him. He told me he wouldn’t know what to say and was going to give him his privacy.
Well, I don’t know how that worked out but I suspect his friend would have appreciated a call at least to let him know that he cared. It’s sort of shocking that a man who had traveled from Normandy to the edge of Russia in one of Patton’s tank battalions, had received the Silver Star and a Bronze Star for bravery was afraid to pick up the phone and talk to his friend.
I’m not judging here. I’ve stepped away all too many times from taking one extra minute to listen, to assure, to be with someone who definitely could have used some encouragement. We all do. This isn’t about beating ourselves up.
What it is about is starting a practice. Start with the really easy things but try to do a couple of them every day. It will change you. It will widen your world. It will enlarge your hope.
As an old friend of mine said many years ago:”We’re all here to help each other.” Give it a shot and share some of your favorites.