BE AN ENCOURAGER
Many stories have been told of how a kind word or deed has changed a life—inspired a great career, prevented a suicide, changed a personality. Discouragement has a way of creeping up on all of us. We need to feel someone understands us cares for us, and appreciates our efforts whether we succeed or fail.
Devastating despair can be caused by the death of a loved one, the loss of a job or other financial difficulties, health problems, a delinquent child, family estrangement, destruction of our home and possessions, or other catastrophic circumstances. These tragedies can send us reeling—not knowing where to turn. God is our supreme refuge, but we also need the human touch. The help of a pastor, counselor, family member, friend, or even a stranger can lighten the way.
Besides the crises in life, we need encouragement in our daily lives. We like to know that others notice and appreciate our efforts and notice our misfortunes: “This is a good, pie, Mom.” “You look nice today.” “Good work!” “You played a good game.” “Sorry to hear about your loss.”
We should all take the responsibility of encouraging each other. Too often we go our merry way from day to day not looking—really looking— into the eyes of another. We may go to church, drop several dollars in the offering plate, join in the hymns and responses, and listen to the scripture and sermon, but be distracted by looking around to see who is there and what they are wearing and by making plans for the days to come. A sermon on helping others—the good Samaritan, for example—we dismiss as not applying to us—we have never seen anyone lying on the road needing help.
When we leave church, we rush to speak to friends and discuss upcoming events, often overlooking those who stand alone, perhaps longing for a brief, friendly “Hello” and needing a word of encouragement. We piously go on our way.
At work, we give most attention to those who participate enthusiastically in the office gab sessions, often overlooking the quiet ones who may have problems. If we are aware of problems, we can excuse ourselves with thoughts that we mustn’t get involved, perhaps remembering friends who were hurt when they tried to help someone. We fail to be a caring listener for someone who needs attention. If we listen, we may think of ways we can help or a source of help we can suggest, but just listening can often help.
Sometimes encouragement requires long-term commitment. We have watched with pride as our granddaughter Mary Beth Smith and her husband Chad act as visiting family for an eleven-year-old boy, Rowdy, who lives in the nearby Children’s Village. Rowdy’s physical needs were surely being met; however, he may not have felt he was special to anyone. Mary Beth and Chad have made him an important part of their family, carrying him to church and to other outings with their two children and including him in our extended family gatherings at holidays.
We may acknowledge with kindness a death in the family of friends then drift quickly back into the patterns of our lives, leaving the bereaved to bear their grief alone.
Through the years I have tried to be an encourager by writing notes and letters. I have given special emphasis to writing letter to those who have lost loved ones. I have thought of this as a sort of ministry available to me with my physical limitations. I regret that now I am not able to write letters as I did in the past. In our newsletters we try to offer words of inspiration and encouragement. We are ourselves encouraged when someone tells us that our efforts have been helpful.
We are admonished in the Scripture to encourage one another. In 1 Thessalonians 5:11 we are told “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up.” In Acts 4:36, Barnabas, whose name means “Son of Encouragement,” sets an example for us.
Many churches are sending groups on mission trips within and outside our country to help build churches and schools and to help spread the word of God. Those expressions of caring concern touch many lives, but we must not let these efforts take the place of our primary job of getting across the street to encourage a down-and-out neighbor.
Parents, spouses, teachers coaches, caregivers, pastors, and friends have special responsibilities as encouragers, but anyone can be an encourager with a warm smile, a solid handshake, direct eye contact, or a word of encouragement (See the accompanying discussion by Charles R. Swindoll). Let us do as Dr. Swindoll suggests and make encouragement a new watchword of our times.
The Waller Funeral Home staff thank you for the confidence you have shown in us in the past. We have been privileged to serve the funeral needs of Oxford and Lafayette County families for over 27 years. In 1977, Patsy and Don Waller established the funeral home upon the foundation of compassionate and caring service. As the third generation of our family joins the staff, we look forward to many more years of funeral service to our community.
Whether your family desires traditional services or cremation, we are dedicated to providing affordable funeral and memorial services that celebrate life. Our highly trained and professional staff is available with the newest and most innovative advancements in funeral service.
We take pride in upholding the tradition of quality and dependable service for each family we assist. We will work to ensure the funeral or memorial service is as special as the person being remembered.
As I thought recently of encouragers in my life, I thought of Juanita Crowson, a first cousin. Juanita was about ten years older than I, and growing up, I looked up to her as if she were an adult.
The first birthday I remember was while we lived in the small community of Delay. My birthday is January 1, during the bad weather of winter when the poor roads in Delay caused the residents to say they lived in “pull tight.” We lived on a high hill. On that birthday, Juanita came, bringing her sister Betty Jean, my age, on her back. Going to town and buying birthday presents was not something we did, and I remember Betty Jean bringing me one of her own small treasures.
Years later after World War II, Juanita and her husband Oren Crowson lived in Memphis. During that time, my mother was seriously ill with cancer and was in the hospital there. With my three young children and the distance involved, I was not able to stay with Mother or take care of her daily needs. Juanita and Oren faithfully visited Mother, and Juanita took care of her clothes many times. Their help endeared them to me forever.
Later our uncle was in a nursing home in Memphis, and again Juanita and Oren were faithful to visit and help take care of his needs in spite of being busy with their jobs.
Juanita died recently after heart surgery and then a stroke. I will always remember her for her cheerful personality and for her kindness and unselfishness. She was a joyful presence in my life, and without her and Oren, a very difficult time for me would have been unbearable.
THE HEART OF ENCOURAGEMENT
(Below Dr. Charles Swindoll discusses cordiality as being the heart of encouragement.)
Being cordial literally starts from the heart, as I see it. Its origin begins with the deep-seated belief that the other guy is important, genuinely significant, deserving of my undivided attention and my unrivaled interest, if only for a few seconds. As cordiality is encouraged by such a belief, it then prompts me to be sensitive to that person’s feelings.
If a person is uneasy and self-conscious, cordiality alerts me to put him at ease, to help him feel comfortable. If he is shy, cordiality provides a relief. If he is bored and bothered, cordiality stimulates and invigorates him. If he is sad and gloomy, cordiality brings cheer; it revives and rejuvenates him. What a needed and necessary virtue it is!
How do we project cordiality? In answer to that question, I suggest at least four basic ingredients:
1. A warm smile
Now lest you try, let me warn you against faking this. You don’t learn to smile by practicing in front of a mirror. A smile has to be a natural part of your whole person, reflecting a friendliness that is genuine. There is nothing about you more magnetic or attractive than your smile. It will fit most every occasion and it will communicate volumes to the other person. . . . Nothing repels like a frown—or attracts like a smile. It’s downright contagious.
2. A solid handshake
Now I’m something of a specialist when it comes to handshakes. I’ve experienced about every kind.
Some are bonebreakers—like a cross between King Kong and Goliath (sometimes even from little, elderly ladies!). Others are completely boneless—like a handful of cool seaweed or a glove full of warm pudding. Some handshakes leave you exhausted, some cling like a crab, others turn into a small, curious wrestling match, never wanting to let go.
There are those, however, that are solid, sure, filled with such thoughts as, “Oh, how I appreciate you!” and “My, it’s good to be in your presence!” and “Let me assure you of my love and interest!” Those say, “You’re terrific!”
Never underestimate the value of this cordial expression. The handshake is one of a rare remaining species threatened with extinction in the family of touch. This is one of the quiet ways you “sharpen the iron” of another with your “iron” (Proverbs 27:17).
3. Direct eye contact
Accompanying every handshake and conversation, no matter how brief, ought to be an eyeball-to-eyeball encounter. The eyes reflect deep feelings enclosed in the secret chamber of your soul, which have no other means of release. This allows others to read how you feel about them. Cordiality cannot be expressed indirectly.
4. A word of encouragement
Keep this fresh, free from cliches and to the point.
Call the person’s name (or ask for it) and use it as you talk. If time permits, mention something you honestly appreciate about him or her. Be specific and natural, but do not try to flatter. Let your heart be freely felt as your words flow.
Oil and perfume make the heart glad, So a man’s counsel is sweet to his friend (Proverbs 27:9 NASV).
People who encourage are cordial! Are you?
Charles R. Swindoll
Susan Vaughn, daughter of Patsy and Don Waller, continues her recuperation from colon surgery performed on August 15. The presence of cancer was frightening, but the surgery went well and the prognosis is very encouraging.
On July 18 Don Waller also underwent colon surgery for removal of a nonmalignant mass. The first ten days were hard, but Don was soon out and about the farm.
Note from Patsy and Don: Our thanks to all who have provided words and deeds of encouragement during these family crises. How thankful we are (1) for the skilled care of the doctors and other medical personnel, (2) for the loving care of our children (including their spouses) for us and for each other, and (3) for God’s goodness and mercy!
A bit of advice: Have your colon checked.
Beth Rosson was elected as Governor, District II, Mississippi Funeral Directors Association, at the June 7 meeting of the Association (MFDA) in Grenada. Beth attended a Board Meeting of MFDA in Philadelphia, Mississippi, on August 9.
As a member of the National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA) Pursuit of Excellence Taskforce, Bob Rosson participated August 10 and 11 in examination of exhibits from applicants for Pursuit of Excellence Awards. On August 12, Bob attended a meeting of the NFDA Communications Committee. Both meetings were held at the headquarters of the NFDA in Brookfield, Wisconsin.
Active participation on the state and national levels in funeral service organizations provides information, ideas, and contacts beneficial to excellence in funeral home operation.
WELCOME TO HOLLAND
I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability—to try to help people who have not shared the unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It’s like this:
When you’re going to have a baby, it’s like planning a fabulous vacation trip—to Italy. You buy a bunch of guidebooks and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. Michelangelo’s “David.” The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It’s all very exciting.
After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The flight attendant comes and says, “Welcome to Holland.”
“Holland?” you say. “What do you mean, Holland? I signed up for Italy! I’m supposed to be in Italy. All my life I’ve dreamed of going to Italy.”
But there’s been a change in the flight plans. They’ve landed in Holland and there you must stay.
The important thing is that they haven’t taken you to a horrible disgusting, filthy place full of pestilence, famine, and disease. It’s just a different place.
So you must go out and buy new guidebooks. You must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.
It’s just a different place. It’s slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you’ve been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills Holland has tulips, Holland even has Rembrandts.
But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy, and they’re all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say, “Yes, that’s where I was supposed to go. That’s what I had planned.”
And the pain of that will never, ever, ever go away, because the loss of that dream is a very significant loss.
But if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn’t get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things about Holland.
Emily PerI Kingsley
YOU ARE A MARVEL
The Chicken Soup for. . books contain collections of wonderful stories of inspiration and encouragement. The following is quoted from Chicken Soup for the Soul.
Each second we live is a new and unique moment of the universe, a moment that will never be again. . . And what do we teach our children? We teach them that two and two make four, and that Paris is the capital of France.
When will we also teach them what they are?
We should say to each of them: Do you know what you are? You are a marvel. You are unique. In all the years that have passed, there has never been another child like you. Your legs, your arms, your clever fingers, the way you move.
You may become a Shakespeare, a Michaelangelo, a Beethoven. You have the capacity for anything. Yes, you are a marvel. And when you grow up, can you then harm another who is, like you, a marvel?
You must work—we must all work—to make the world worthy of its children.
One of the highest of human duties is the duty of encouragement.... It is easy to laugh at men’s ideals; it is easy to pour cold water on their enthusiasm; it is easy to discourage others. The world is full of discouragers. We have a Christian duty to encourage one another. Many a time a word of praise or thanks or appreciation or cheer has kept a man on his feet. Blessed is the man who speaks such a word.
Our sufferings may be hard to bear, but they teach us lessons which, in turn, equip us to help others.
It's so easy to give to a charity or a ministry and feel good about it. It’s not so easy to provide the personal charity.
We dedicate this issue of Seasons to those who died and whose families we served from May 13, 2004 through August 18, 2005.
Mrs. Dollie Jordan Williams / May 13, 2005
Mrs. Tommie Moorman Simpson / May 19, 2005
Mrs. Marie McCord Truss / June 1, 2005
Mrs. Linwood Mayfield Bruce / June 1, 2005
Mr. Walter Charlie Lee / June 1, 2005
Mrs. Sylvia Sanders Cannon / June 1, 2005
Mrs. Tammy Simmons Force / June 5, 2005
Mr. Winford Walter Bruce / June 14, 2005
Mr. Vernon Lenay Cobb / June 16, 2005
Mr. Willie Joe Heard / June 17, 2005
Mrs. Annie Christine Tidwell / June 18, 2005
Mrs. Cheryl Schweickert Black / June 18, 2005
Mr. Adron Tallant / June 23, 2005
Mrs. Dorothy Russell Scott / June 29, 2005
Mrs. Karla Hardberger Ortiz / July 8, 2005
Mr. Eric Maurice Tubbs / July 8, 2005
Mrs. Marine Johnson Kelly / July 10, 2005
Mrs. Madge Winter Minor / July 15, 2005
Mrs. Lois Petry Piotrowski / July 15, 2005
Mr. Clyde Lee Heatherly / July 15, 2005
Mrs. Bertha Dale Mitchell Waldrop / July 19, 2005
Mrs. Vera Young Champion / July 22, 2005
Mrs. Anita Drawdy Bolen / July 26, 2005
Mrs. Rena Parlapiano / July 28, 2005
Mr. David Allen Beard / July 29, 2005
Mrs. Pauline Fleming Wardlaw / August 1, 2005
Miss Ann Rackley / August 1, 2005
Mr. Billy Gene Butler / August 3, 2005
Mrs. Maxine Everett Leach / August 6, 2005
Mrs. Ila Faye Stewart Bishop / August 7, 2005
Mrs. Sandra Mallard Duckworth / August 10, 2005
Mrs. Odell B. East / August 11, 2005
Mrs. Louise M. Burrow / August 18, 2005