Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Treasure of an Encourager

I was at a funeral with my dad a few days ago and saw a long time family friend. My mother and this special woman have been friends since I was in elementary school. Immediately, this lady walked toward my dad and me, greeted us with a beautiful smile and words of endearment. Instantly, I was filled with a renewed appreciation for the positive and encouraging heart of this wonderful person. This friend, now on the edge of her golden years, was even more affirming than I had remembered. It was like finding a treasure that you misplaced years ago, but found it serendipitously with its value tremendously appreciated over time.

Her eyes sparkled and a smile broke out across her face with every pause in the conversation. As we stood in the parking lot on a beautiful, windy, spring day, her healthy silvery hair was blowing around her face like an aura of positivity. This lady has the rare ability to always affirm everyone just by the way she tilts her head and looks at them when she listens to what they have to say. She always boosts your esteem with comments like, “that’s great!” which make you feel like you’ve just told her the most wonderful and interesting thing ever. She makes you laugh and she lifts your spirits with witty words and Barnabas-ish quips in response. Whenever you ask her a question, she always adeptly weaves the focus of the conversation back to the person she knows you like to talk about the most…yourself!

The three of us reminisced about the antics and adventures of the yearly family vacations to the beach and an unforgettable 2 week tour of the Western U.S. with 6 kids and 4 adults in one RV. She recalled specific memorable moments from those adventures that made us all snicker and laugh and sigh with fond remembrance. As we visited for just a few minutes, I realized what a treasure this person is to those who are privileged to interact with her, especially in the corrosive climate that has become our world. She always sees any negative situation from a positive perspective and helps you see it too. Her four children enjoy the empowerment and success that comes from the lifetime of accolades and affirmations of a proud mother.

After seeing this friend again, I was glad to know that nothing had changed about her except the fact that she had become even more adept at saying the most optimistic words at just the right moment. She is an expert encourager and an inspiration to all those around her. I pray I can encourage like she does.  She is a treasure to us all.

Hebrews 3:13 (NIV) ."..encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness."