Yesterday morning, I submitted a week’s worth of devotions to Quiet Hour, a publication that has been contracting with me to write for them for the past few years. Each time, they send me a list of scripture readings for each day of the week. I choose a particular verse or two within the reading and then do a reflection based on the passage. Yesterday afternoon, I had a very nice reply from the editor, thanking me and making specific, positive comments about the submission.
It wasn’t anything lofty or grandiose. Just a few things that showed he had looked at the submission with some care and thought. Mostly, the reason why his response was so soothing and encouraging was that it seemed quite sincere.
I think it is easy for us, in the nearness of our lives, to overlook the constant opportunities we have to encourage one another. It doesn’t take something spectacular; it doesn’t require some tremendous accomplishment. It requires that we become deliberately alert and aware.
Most people do their work well, or at least try to do it well. Even it’s something as simple as making the coffee, there is effort. If we cannot praise the coffee, we can praise the making of it. The point is not to make a big deal out of it; we don’t have to say, “You make the most magnificent coffee on the planet. No one, in the entire course of recorded history, has ever made coffee as well as you make it.” Instead, a simple, “You know, I really appreciate that you take time to make coffee for us. That really is thoughtful of you.”
Of course, the practice of appreciation and encouragement begin with noticing. None of us enjoy having our efforts overlooked or ignored. Whether at work or at home… or anywhere else.