Be an encourager, the meme urges; the world has enough critics already. Hoping to ring in a new year, I like that advice.
Mainly because I am in a corner of my life’s garden when encouragement is as sweet for me as it is for a child. And criticism, real or imagined, stings.
Nobody, except maybe a textbook narcissist, criticizes a child learning how to walk and talk; how to grow up. Even when little ones fail, we encourage them to keep trying.
Like a little child, sometimes I am so determined to do for myself that I risk doing something that will limit my range even more. Still, I don’t want to be treated as a flipping child!
When I was a child, I am told, I had an imaginary friend, Cousie. I don’t remember her; but apparently, it was she who wrote on walls and broke things. Sometimes today, I wonder if I don’t have an klutzy twin who drops stuff; can’t unscrew bottle caps, and hides my cell phone and the remote!
As one who is stunned to find herself a seasoned citizen – in an autumn’s garden – I am finding I have more and more in common with the younger grand kids. Like, I just can’t do all that I want to. Nor can I always find the right word. And brother, do I ever need a nap most afternoons!
So, I in a new learning season, and that season just might be called
LIMITATIONS I never thought I’d have.
They are a little starker and not as funny as My get up and go got up and went!
A door opens to me. I go in and am faced with a hundred closed doors. ~Antonio Porchia, Voces, 1943.
What’s more, I also see that some of my peers are facing hundreds of closed doors, some with scary nameplates! These doors are experiences that are as intimidating to seasoned citizens as the experiences little ones face when we introduce them to new places, experiences, and people.
Now, doctors tell us things that are hard to process. They give us prescriptions that usher in all kinds of new experiences, and their bills create unfamiliar opportunities to argue with voices we aren’t sure are real or computer generated.
Our eyes, and ears, and joints . . . well, they are not what they once were, compounding the fears of what lies beyond those doors!
Possibly, you can relate?
Maybe you need a little bit more encouragement than criticism, or negative self-talk, we are prone to tell ourselves. I know I do! I had a great example of an encourager in Dorothy Walton.
Remembering her, perhaps, then, I can let go of my impulse to be my harshest critic, and the people who would be my encouragers.
Frederick Buechner offered some counsel that shows me how I might be a better encourager:
“Stop trying to protect, to rescue, to judge, to manage the lives around you . . . remember that the lives of others are not your business.
They are their business. They are God’s business . . . even your own life is not your business. It also is God’s business.
Leave it to God.
It is an astonishing thought. It can become a life-transforming thought . . . unclench the fists of your spirit and take it easy . . .
What deadens us most to God’s presence within us, I think, is the inner dialogue that we are continuously engaged in with ourselves, the endless chatter of human thought.
I suspect that there is nothing more crucial to true spiritual comfort . . . than being able from time to time to stop that chatter . . . ” ― Frederick Buechner, Telling Secrets
Be an Encourager!
I thank God for the wherewithal I have to do what I do – for that pulse that means I have a purpose even in a doctor’s office, a dentist’s chair; or, woolgathering in an autumn’s garden.
You do, too, dear reader!
Our grandson was a real encourager recently; sharing a discovery, he had just made: Mimi! They make color for gray hair, now!
When you get to the end of your rope, tie a knot in it and hang on! ~Author Unknown