Two women, both seriously ill, occupied the same hospital room.
One woman was allowed to sit up in her bed for an hour each afternoon to help drain the fluid from her lungs.
Her bed was next to the room’ s only window.
The other woman had to spend all her time flat on her back.
The women talked for hours on end.
They spoke of their husbands and families, their homes, their jobs, their involvement in community service, where they had been on vacation.
Every afternoon, when the woman in the bed by the window could sit up, she would pass the time by describing to her roommate all the things she could see outside the window.
The woman in the other bed began to live for those one hour periods where her world would be broadened and enlivened by all the activity and color of the world outside.
The window overlooked a park with a lovely lake.
Ducks and swans played on the water while children sailed their model boats. Young lovers walked arm in arm amidst flowers of every color, and a fine view of the city skyline could be seen in the distance.
As the woman by the window described all this in exquisite details, the woman on the other side of the room would close her eyes and imagine this picturesque scene.
One warm afternoon, the woman by the window described a parade passing by.
Although the other woman could not hear the band — she could see it in her mind’ s eye as the lady by the window portrayed it with descriptive words.
Days, weeks, and months passed.
One morning, the day nurse arrived to bring water for their baths only to find the lifeless body of the woman by the window, who had died peacefully in her sleep.
She was saddened and called the hospital attendants to take the body away.
As soon as it seemed appropriate, the other woman asked if she could be moved next to the window. The nurse was happy to make the switch, and after making sure she was comfortable, she left her alone.
Slowly, painfully, she propped herself up on one elbow to take her first look at the real world outside.
She strained to slowly turn to look out the window beside the bed.
It faced a blank wall.
The woman asked the nurse what could have compelled her deceased roommate who had described such wonderful things outside this window.
The nurse responded that the woman was blind and could not even see the wall.
She said, “Perhaps she just wanted to encourage you.”
Shared grief is half the sorrow, but happiness when shared, is doubled.
(author unknown; pronouns were changed from male to female by this writer)
It is tremendously encouraging to ourselves when feeling down, when we reach out and encourage another, in spite of our own situation.
- Psalm 98:6 …make a joyful noise
- 1 Thessalonians 5:11 & 14 …encourage and comfort
- 2 Corinthians 3:3 & 4…comfort
- Philippians 2:3 & 4 …meet the needs of others
In obedience to our Lord and Savior, we are to be encouraging each other. We are to be, in a sense, Christ on earth — in our homes, our work, our relationships, wherever we are.
Encourage in the 1828 Webster dictionary (yes it is a wonderful, encouraging reference) means from the heart — to increase another’s confidence of success; to inspire with courage, spirit or strength of mind and to incite or stimulate to action. Hebrews 10:22-25 reminds us to consider one another to provoke — incite — unto love and to good works.
A few synonyms for encourage are to enhearten, reassure, cheer, root, bear up, pat on the back, stimulate, motivate, inspire, rally, boost, build up, pep talk, prompt, urge, influence, sway and many many more ideas in how to encourage, but it takes one small act.
Some women are born encouragers. One of my daughters came to earth with a natural propensity to encourage. She is a mother of five now and married almost twenty-five years. She still just naturally encourages. She was the child in school who came alongside the hurting and always had a good word of cheer for all. She is a precious example of Christ loving the down hearted. Her website is www.highfivesforstacey.com which is a non-profit organization to assist the disabled in receiving items to live better, “blessing families with special needs.” She is amazing. Check it out.
Some women naturally enjoy encouraging others through parties. They make others laugh and have a good time. They are the ones with the motto of life, “Life must be fun,” so if you aren’t having fun — they will see that you do.
Others are natural “just fix it” people. They mean well but honestly seldom are encouraging with their exhortation. These dear folks need to plan their input.
Then others are just afraid to do or say anything in fear they will offend someone. They are the ones that “want peace at all cost.” So they would rather do nothing than try.
There are still some who think and plan for days so that they take the perfect gift, say the perfect words or send the perfect card and they procrastinate but eventually follow through. They must “do it right — perfect” or not at all.
When my friend Nan Taylor, who is in Heaven, was alive, she practiced “The Tea Basket.” She put together a basket for tea, complete with tea pot, thermos of water, cookies, napkins, little table cloth, beautiful as only Nan could do it. She would take this basket to the shut-ins or those in need. Sweet! Many were encouraged.
But few are like Nan. We can implement her caring ways of comfort and encouragement in our own way.
- If you know someone who needs comfort, pray. Pray a portion of Scripture that you are reading or recently read that blessed you. We each have a few “precious in times of need” Scripture that we go back to over and again. Pray that for the hurting.
- Send a card with few words and the Scripture you have prayed for them with.
- Call, text, or email a short message: “Just thinking about you and wanted to say I have prayed for you.”
- Touch a person today. Literally. A hug does wonders.
Let us each reach out and encourage another. Be creative. Have fun. You will be more blessed than the one you encourage.