28 February 2011

A Bit of Encouragement

I went running today, which in itself isn’t that unusual.  It was a very long run, almost two hours, so I was a bit tired near the end of it.  But something happened that was kind of cool, and definitely worth thinking about.  As I ran past a woman who was walking on the same trail, she said, “You’re doing great!  Keep it up!”  She was a woman I didn’t know, and whom I probably never had seen before.  But she took the time to pass on some encouragement to a complete stranger, which was a very nice thing for her to do.

There are the cynics who will say that the encouragement couldn’t have been helpful, since I didn’t know her and she had no idea if I had been running for ten minutes or ten hours.  She also couldn’t have had any idea if I really was doing great, or if I was running much slower than usual.  But I’ll let the cynics say what they might–the fact is that this little bit of encouragement from a complete stranger definitely did help, and it definitely did make the last few minutes of my run much more pleasant and probably a bit easier, too.

No matter whether she was a complete stranger or not, she brightened my day with a few simple words.  She acknowledged my presence, and she acknowledged the fact that I was working hard at something.  She gave me credit for doing something for myself like running, and she recognized that it was probably somewhat challenging.  And she did all of this with just a few words in passing.

I try to be as encouraging as I can to people, but I never know whether or not my encouragement is well received or not.  After today, though, I think that giving encouragement will be all that much easier for me, even if I’m giving it to strangers.  For I now know what it’s like to get it from a complete stranger, out of the blue, and it felt pretty good.  Perhaps I can make others feel pretty good by giving my sincere encouragement whenever and wherever I can.

Our workaday lives are filled with opportunities to bless others.
The power of a single glance or an encouraging smile must never be underestimated.

G. Richard Rieger

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