My husband just told me a very encouraging story- about encouragement! I must share this. It is sort of my thing as of late. I have noticed a great need for encouragement in both secular settings and within the Church. I think it is oversimplified and ignored, which is a travesty because simple encouragement has the power to change people.
My husband is a resident at a large hospital. Today, he comes home and starts this story off by saying “I had to call a charge nurse today…” (for those who do not know, a charge nurse is the nurse who is in charge, so to speak). My immediate assumption was that this was not going to be a good story, but one filled with drama and possibly conflict. He quickly went on to say that he called the charge nurse to let her know how wonderful a certain nurse had been that shift. He went on to tell me that this nurse went out of her way to cheerfully help him when it wasn’t even her responsibility. She took time with a nursing student and treated a patient with decency. Basically, her actions and demeanor made it clear that she cared about her job and those that she interacted with.
My husband took note of this and, at the end of his shift, made it a point to let the charge nurse know about the nurse’s stellar professionalism. He said that, at first, he considered just leaving for the day without saying anything, but then that little voice urged him to take a moment and make sure that someone else knew it. He called to let the charge nurse know and she (like me) assumed it was a complaint upon receiving the call. He went on to commend the nurse. He said her tone of voice immediately changed once he explained was making a positive call, not a negative one. It is sad when we all assume the majority of our interactions will either be negative or nothing special. I assumed it was going to be a bad story and she assumed it was a complaint call.
When we take the time to notice good in others, we are encouraged within ourselves simply by the recognition of it. We think to ourselves hmm… that was really nice or he really went above and beyond on that one. When we take it a step further and communicate that goodness to someone else, they are let in on the encouragement and it can keep going. This situation was a win-win for all involved. My husband was encouraged by the nurse, the charge nurse was encouraged by the positive call about the nurse, I was encouraged by this story, and, hopefully, the nurse will receive positive feedback, which will definitely encourage her! I think we do not realize the impact that the few seconds it takes to slow down enough to see the goodness in people and then communicate that we see it can have. Encouragement is as simple as a few sentences, but the impact and implications are profound. Our words, though they might be plain, have power. I want to use that power to lift people up to glorify God. I love that my husband was in a place where he could hear the soft and still voice of the Holy Spirit urging him to take the second to call. I also love that he was obedient to that voice. He might never know the repercussion of the seemingly small gesture, but even if he doesn’t, at least two other souls (and I am hoping anyone who takes the time to read this) have already been encouraged.
We are all seeking a voice or a story to strengthen our faith or give us a push in the right direction, but I think it is just as important to seek out these opportunities to offer a few words to someone. This may not be the deepest or most profound idea, but it is worth remembering. Do not dismiss or ignore those fleeting ideas that come across your mind to give someone a few kind words or appreciation. It matters.
Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person. Colossians 4:6