There's something about hearing the right word at the right time. I have friends who are awfully good at sensing how I'm doing and speaking something to me that always encourages and lifts my spirits. Being an encourager is so important and it's something that everyone, young and old, can do. I think people are hungry for encouragement. The other day someone dear to me found out about a medical condition that could be serious. After we had spoken about it several times, I began to think of all the ways this person has made my life special. There were so many things I just took for granted; the power of this life came rushing at me with such clarity. I need to write it down, I need to share it. My mother just beat cancer for the second time and do you know what she kept praying for during the process? A merry heart. That would never have occurred to me. I would want the right medicine and the cancer to be gone and my pain to go away. It's not that Mom didn't want those things to happen, but she knew the power of joy and how it can lift the days.
I'm interested in studies that ask what makes people happy. Again and again the answer isn't in the big things — a new job, new house, etc. But real contentment comes in small, satisfying moments strung together in the days and weeks. I have a friend who understands the power in simple treasures. She'll find a shell on a beach and give it to me; she'll send me a special thought in an email. These are rich treasures of love and friendship and they are critically important because they are moments of encouragement. This week with banks failing and politics raging, I am looking at one of the best presents my husband ever gave me. It's a rock with the word LAUGH carved inside. He gave it to me years ago during a time when I wasn't laughing much. I don't know about you, but I need to laugh these days — not at the hard times, but in spite of them. And with so much uncertainty in the world, I need to hold tight to what can never be shaken.