Dear You (For When You Need A Word of Encouragement)

“Most of us, swimming against the tides of trouble the world knows nothing about, need only a bit of praise or encouragement – and we will make the goal. “ – Jerome Fleishman

Dear You (For When You Need A Word of Praise):

Encouragement is like a love letter to the heart. It instantly lifts. Immediately upholds the soul both in times of mundane living (when the senses have been dulled) as well as supports in times of acute need, where much more intervention is necessary. Encouragement is the Balm of Gilead- the universal cure for the heart’s pain and hurt. It heals, restores, enables, engages. Encouragement is both a consolation as well as a joy to the heart of the hearer. We crave these words of support as we strive to live and press onward in our ordinary day-to-day living- need them even when life becomes complicated and hard to understand. For what we really need is something to persuade us to just.keep.going. We need encouragement.

How we need them, those words of affirmation and confirmation.

I am standing there in the church kitchen wiping dishes, sorting the cutlery into neat piles. Forks, knives, spoons, serving utensils. Routinely wiping and sorting, wiping and sorting…when he comes to stand beside me, an older gentleman whom I am not ordinarily inclined to chat with. We stand for a moment side by side and then he turns to me and says something I am not expecting. I am actually caught off guard for a moment. He tells me that he reads my blog articles and that in the reading, they have somehow meant something to him; enough so that he feels the need to share this sweet word of encouragement with me in this tender moment. He also shares that he reads my writing quite regularly, which is just so touching I cannot keep from smiling as he talks. I have not expected this at all- was not really aware. Nor did I realize how very much I needed this little bit of nudging and support so as to encourage me and spur me on.

After he leaves, I realize that this private exchange had (between two acquaintances) might seem insignificant to anyone but me. I might have continued to think such if I had not opened my email account later on in the day only to find that I had received a message from someone I know not at all. A person who tells me that they weep even as they write the letter- a stranger to me, yet a person willing to bear their soul; in their hurt and pain, the individual expresses to me how the discouragement they are feeling has wounded their spirit. Has all but pushed the individual to make decisions that would change the course of their career path. And it is as if we know each other intimately, for the details of this story are so similar to mine that I could have written the words of this letter myself.

My heart reaches outward. I just wish I knew what to say so as to help lift this individual from the hurt they feel.

In the moments in which I read the words, recalling back to the moments earlier when I was myself encouraged, I start to wonder if what we all need in life is a maybe a cheerleader assigned individually to each and every one of us. An avid personal enthusiast who ‘likes us, loves us, cares for us’- regardless what happens to act as a roadblock in our day-to-day living. Someone who is there behind us as we go through our lives, quietly supporting our work and living, even if from the sidelines. What we need is a devoted advocate who works tirelessly on our behalf. Someone who is willing to champion our cause, form our fan base, work up our support channels. I know I could certainly stand a fan or two such as I have just described.

For is this not what we need so as to be encouraged- an individual supporter or a group of followers to stand behind us as we walk this life’s road? Is this not the ideal?

Certainly, if you take in social media at all, this aspect of forming a fan base with a multitude of followers would appear to be the way to go; for everywhere you turn, there is the call to show support and public praise. It seems to be the sought-after prize these days. Pages on Facebook asking for ‘likes’ or photos on Instagram asking for hearts. Twitter left looking for ‘faves’. We are a people in need of encouragement, driven to rack up our support systems so that it becomes almost a popularity contest; it seems we are willing to do anything to get votes, even to the point of outright begging for them.

Is this what we all need? A fan base based on likes, hearts or favorites? Do we really need the approval of the crowd so as to find encouragement and sustenance for our journey on life’s rocky terrain? And if so, how would one go about getting the numbers so as to make any difference?

If what we need is a fan base, or at the very minimum- A FAN: how would one go about convincing another person to be that fan for them? Persuading another to selflessly act in ways so as to uplift and encourage on a regular basis, as the need arises? And who would we ask- a father or a mother? A best friend, spouse or partner? And what would happen in their absence? Would a sibling fill in? It seems a monumental task trying to derive a consistent base of support from which to draw from when life’s trials and troubles get us down.

Perhaps rather, what we really need so as to lift us from the slump of life’s ho-hum, everyday living is not so much a fan or fan base but this: to be ourselves the encourager, the one behind-the-scenes following and ‘favoriting’ the work of another: the fan of another person who needs a quiet word of encouragement or a humble nudge of approval. So that the work that person is found to be doing can then be acknowledged in some way; so that the life that person is living can be recognized and known. What we all need as a discouraged people is to be the followers of others in our lives so that the one’s we are quietly supporting from the sidelines are shown that THEY ARE TRULY VALUED. So that the people in our lives are shown that they are worth our time and effort. When we offer praise, isn’t it interesting how the focus of our emotions becomes less about us and more and more about the significant others in our lives? It seems that much of our own discouragement is dissolved just by our decision to be an encouragement to others.

What we truly need so as to be encouraged ourselves is to BE an encouragement to others.

Life can get people down- it’s a tough world out there and a hard place to navigate sometimes. Without people in their lives who truly see them for what they are worth, people can tend to forget the intrinsic value inherent in their being. That’s our job- to remind them. Without people in their lives who care and hold out for the best, people can so easily throw in the towel. That’s our job- to support them. Without people in their lives to offer comfort and solace and cheer when hardships seemingly overpower and overwhelm, people can forget sometimes that there are answers for the predicament that life’s trouble and pain pose. That’s our job- to offer that word of hope.

Because if we truly want to know how best to bring ourselves out of the weariness and discouragement we so often feel as people, the best way to do to this is to be ourselves an encouragement and advocate for others. It’s the antidote to discouragement.

Being that word of encouragement ourselves that others so desperately need is the way to refocus our eyes on what really matters, lifting our hearts in the process.

So to that dear One Who Is Struggling:
Be encouraged. Know that someone out there cares.
Be confident. Know that someone believes in you.
Be inspired. Know that someone stands behind you.
Be hopeful. Know that your life was created for a purpose.
Believe.

And know with all your heart that I’ll be standing by as your number one supporter.

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Dear Teachers (From All the Parents)

Dear Teachers,

It’s April.

We parents are hardly able to clasp the few shards of fading sanity remaining from Spring Break (as they slip nimbly from our hands into the oblivion of another work week). So we can hardly imagine how other adult human beings around the country are faring out. (Can I get a witness?)

Spring this year feels like a continuous week of non-stop Mondays- no thanks to the mountains of shard-like snowdrifts left in our backyards still covering swing-sets, clotheslines and anything else less than six feet in stature. It is no wonder we are all feeling the challenge of the April Blues.  What with the lagging seasonal change, the joys of flooding (spring thaw), the onslaught of standardized testing now in full-gear (provincial assessments), political elections underway (at least in certain areas such as our own P.E.I), along with the general chaos, craziness and confusion of everyday living- added to that joyous of all emotions, end-of-school- year exhaustion- IT’S NO WONDER WE ARE ALL LOSING OUR MARBLES.

We can hardly believe the school year is quickly coming to a close.

And with that in mind, we are sure that you teachers need no reminder why you do this good, good work of teaching and advocating for our children (while we mop ground water out of our basements and pray desperately for sunshine). We know it is innately in you all to CARE and STRIVE for our kiddos. We KNOW you want to be there for our children.

It’s just what you do.

But we also realize that this last mile toward the finish line is a treacherous one. There are numerous pitfalls and potholes in the road. There is the weariness of traveling to contend with. The fatigue of long hours. The arduous work of putting one foot in front of another. The pain of injury and harm that is accrued along the way. This journey is not for the faint of heart. And we are all too aware of the reality that travelers can so easily drop out of the journey when faced with these and other taxing obstacles.

This is the reality of the work you teachers do.

Let me be the first to say: “You can do this, teachers.”

Your journey is long and hard and tough and fraught with hazards and risk, but it is worthwhile. Not looking to the peril, your focus is ever on the children and what they can accomplish. Your eyes are continually on the possibility and potential- not focused on the pitfalls. And you teachers know in your caring hearts that it’s the students that matter- not the test scores or the assessments results or the glowing progress reports. It’s the kids that matter.

And this is a truth you remind us all to remember, each and every time you are working your magic with our children.

We know you believe that the students are why you are there.
Your acts of kindness do not fall by the wayside unnoticed.

Whether it be the extra hours you put in at recess.
The special little things you do to make learning fun.
The hours and hours you spend writing notes and making phone calls.
The little smiles you share when you see your “kids” out and about in the community.
Whether it be the food you so generously share at recess.
Or the special little gifts you buy for them ‘just because’.

We know you do it not for accolades or attention: you do it all because you CARE.

Teachers, you make learning happen all while you under-gird this quest for emotional and academic growth with a spirit of love and concern.  You make magic happen every day in your classrooms- even for small moments, so teachers we want to tell you: we know why you do your work. You do it for our children.

For all you do.
For all you are.
For all you help our children to grow and become.
Thank you.

We can’t ever say enough how much we value your place in our children’s lives.

And one more thing. We know that there is still the very genuine reality that tomorrow is another day with more hurdles to jump, puddles to slosh through and mountains to climb- there is much, much more legwork to be accomplished on your journey. Forty-four days worth of legwork, to be precise.

Hang in there, comrade. We ‘got your back’.
Love,

All The Parents

Teachers: You Are Better Than You Think You Are

One year ago, I wrote a blog post titled “What Students Remember Most About Teachers” which went viral the second month after I published it.  Since then, it has been the single most-read item on my blog with hundreds of views each day and over 2 million views to date.  In particular, at key times of the year (August, September and mid-way through the year), it will spike an interest again with the teaching public, with tens of thousands of views on certain days.

I have been perplexed by this phenomenon over the past year because I am really at a loss for why this particular blog post has struck such a chord. And then I happened upon these two articles tonight.  One, about why teachers feel so bad most of the time and the other, a test to take so as to determine whether or not you are a bad teacher, both written by Ellie Herman (a former teacher).  It got me thinking about teachers again- and why teaching matters.

I don’t want to focus solely on the content of either article so as to critique.  But I do want to point out one thing that I think explains the interest in my blog post that went viral: that is, why it continues to be read by teachers one year later.  And I think the answer lies in part within Herman’s two blog posts. According to Herman, teachers are inadequately trained for the classroom realities they face, get little to no support to deal with those realities, and don’t have the resources  to do the job well.  Add to this, the reality that many teachers (both those who are essentially good teachers as well as those who should never have entered the profession- due to Herman’s five criteria) have given up because the odds are stacked against them.

It is a tough gig being a teacher.

Ironically, when I wrote the article about teachers fourteen months ago, I had no intentions of publishing the letter.  It was actually written concerning a real person involved in a real interaction with me, an actual event; so that scenario I portrayed in the letter was between two real-life colleagues.  I had an actual conversation with someone and sent them the letter because I cared about them as a teacher, and I wrote the letter because I wanted to somehow encourage that person in the very same ways I sometimes need encouragement.  More than anything, I wanted to care for the person I was interacting with as a colleague, so as to remind them that I believed in them and that I knew they were doing a better job than they were giving themselves credit for.

I think teachers need this type of encouragement so as to be reminded of how well they are doing.  And it takes sometimes a moment for us to remember to do this for one another- spurring each other on so that we stay the course. That was one reason I wrote the letter- as a means of inspiration.  But even more than this, I wanted to also relay another message- one that has been felt in more general ways by teachers the world over.  That message was this: teachers, you are doing a far better job than you give yourselves credit- so believe in yourselves and the influence you have on your students.  You are good teachers.  Teachers, we are all better than we sometimes give ourselves credit for.

Something I have heard said about students from both the administration level as well as from our provincial teaching federation (P.E.I.T.F.) president is the following: students bring their best selves with them each day to school.  It might not be what WE would deem best- but the reality is, it is THEIR best for that particular day. I have had conversations with administration as well about parents- parents that do things differently than I do as a parent, but who love their children nonetheless.  Parents who bring their best to the table.  And what I have discovered about parents is this: parents tend to bring the best they have to give to their child’s education as well.

Is their best the same as my best or even your best?  Not necessarily- but best is a relative term as long as we are not talking about inflicting harm or injury on another human being in physical, emotional or psychological ways.  What I am trying to say here is that as long as we are aiming to do something productive for our children, what is BEST can differ.

Which brings us around to teachers.

Do teachers bring their best to school each day? Let’s assume that teachers do not meet the five criteria that Herman has established which make for bad teachers (disliking children, consistently uninterested in your subject matter, don’t have a clue what you are teaching, ignoring a large subset of your students most of the time, and who are overall, totally disengaged in teaching).  Teachers who are not consistently any of those five and who also have a desire at all to investigate their practice and think about their identity as a professional are really who form the baseline for me.  If teachers are at that place- caring somewhat about who they are and what they do, then I feel those teachers are bringing their best to the profession.

Now again: that word best, it is a relative word.  When someone talks BEST they start envisioning other buzz phrases: words like charismatic, creative, reform-minded and inspirational.  Words associated with teaching style like: engaging in praxis, integrating technology, differentiating instruction and scaffolding  instruction. But I am not talking about setting a bar for best for either personality or teaching style.  What I am maintaining here is that bringing your BEST SELF to work means bringing the self that cares.

Care is the quality that defines truly great teaching.  And caring is for me the underlying quality that defines a good teacher.

Weighed against that criteria, good teachers are those who do the following:

Good teachers care about themselves- care for their own personal, emotional, physical and spiritual well-being.

Good teachers care about others- care for people both young and old both children, youth and adults.

Good teachers care about ideas- care about thinking and understanding, knowing and connecting.

Good teachers care about things- classrooms, and books, and lunches and school buses.

Good teachers also care about non-human entities: animals, and plants, eco-systems and habitats.

And good teachers finally care about experiences- what happens at home, in school and some of what happens in between.

Simply put: good teachers care. 

And they tend to care a great deal the longer they exercise that caring muscle.

So when it comes to criteria for defining good and bad teachers, focusing on the fact that most teachers who care enough about ideas and experiences to read an article about teaching are probably good teachers, it almost becomes a waste of time for teachers to ask themselves if they are bad at their job.  We hear enough negativity in the onslaught of media messages to waste too much on this consideration. What we need to be asking as teachers is this: what makes you a great teacher…and how can you find ways to do this again tomorrow?

Then too, ask yourself this: how can I find ways to rise above the imperfect circumstances in which I find myself, the less than ideal situations I find myself in as a teacher and be my best teaching self?  And how can I tap into that reservoir of care that brought me into this profession in the first place?

Teachers, we are better than we think we are.  We just have to remember.

We are a caring profession.  And while we are diverse in scope- each of us bringing different traditions, orientations, philosophies, backgrounds, experiences, personalities, cultures, attitudes and beliefs to the table; what binds us together as a collective is our common care for our students and our profession. We care. And may we never forget how important that quality is in making us great teachers.

Words

They walk and talk- and it is getting so dark outside. The snow whirls around them in a vortex of ragged wind from the north-east as they trudge through the shin-high drifts and try to make their way. But it is rough going. The trail they have carved out is more like a cow-path than anything when they finally make their last turn for home. She stumbles but catches herself from falling.
They press on.
She listens as he talks. And she tries to make sense out of all the trouble- tries to find a way for them both. He turns to her and tells her that she has made him feel better and she hugs him and tells him that was the plan. She wants to help. She cares.
But sometimes words fail to convey that care. Fail to explain, describe, clarify, enlighten. And sometimes even, words hurt: inflict, wound, injure and impair. Leaving the other to try and piece together the remains into something that makes sense.
Life is hard and people are the ones that know this reality the most. Words are sometimes all we’ve got to stake our pride.
And one doesn’t have to look far to find hurting people in need of a word of comfort. In need of a kind gesture, a simple encouragement.
So what does the girl do when she has gazed inside the glass and all she sees is a tunnel of darkness? Pitch black nothingness. An unknown abyss that appears to be bottomless, with no way out?
And what does the boy say when he is faced with the news, given the verdict, read the riot act and there is no happy ending in view?
What do men and women do when life turns sour, when it all turns belly up? When health fails, relationships strain and doom is pending?
What do people do when life gets hard?
Where do we go for help? By Whom are our cries heard?
We wait for resolution with our fragile sense of uncertainty, each and every day. Wondering, guessing, hoping: and then, our expectations are found deflating. Because there is not always an answer that immediately comes to mind. Not always words. Not always an explanation that rises quickly to the occasion, announcing its arrival. Sometimes answers are hard to come by, making both life hard and understanding it to boot seem nearly impossible.
Life is hard- and figuring it all out even harder.
The mystery leads us to the discovery.
The discovery that God gave us people to help us out. Gave us one another- each other, for a reason. To stand in the gap. To bear witness. To hold space. To uphold and sustain one another through the hard times. God gave us ‘each other’ to be that support, that advocate for one another. To sustain one another. And when we do this for the others in our lives, that is encourage one another- even through the hardest of times, we come to realize that we can carry on. There is strength. Hope. And we can make our way through to the other side.

The light shines from the pathway lanterns and together they walk the narrow route toward home. Winds howl and snow eddies tug at their jackets. But these are no match for them. There is no contest.

They got each other- and that is enough.

Galatians 6:2: “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.”

Think on these things…

Twice tonight, Daughter gave me the sweetest compliment.  Both times, with regards to the same thing, which made the words that much sweeter to me. That praise (in my mind, a bit too flowery- but isn’t that the way…) proffered for my coaching abilities today at school, words that had the effect of boosting my confidence about a role I feel rather inadequately suited for. As I was just now vacuuming the kitchen at day’s end, thinking about my hours before already spent and wondering about those to come tomorrow, I was reminded of her words. A reminder bringing a beaming smile to my soul.

When I hit the gym floor tomorrow, I’ll have her words as an encouraging love note written on my soul.

Those sweetest of words from the mouth of one I love- words of praise and commendation. How dearly we need such encouragement to spur us onward. And this thought entered my mind as well: how easily it is to dismiss uplifting words that another has given us as a gift, brushing them aside as we choose for our thinking less savory words to occupy our mind. Words that have come to us from the hurt or pain we feel; words that have provoked in us anger or retaliation; or words that have wounded. These we choose to dwell upon instead- pushing aside those other more precious words and memories that uplift and support.

So often we replace inspiration with desperation. While we might never quench our need for approval (that is, our desire for always wanting more praise- the initial high lasting only so long): there is also the tendency within to ignore the encouragement or praise we’ve been given so as to focus instead on whatever negative has been said to us throughout the day. To ruminate about those things which are most offensive, giving priority to the damaging at the expense of the positive. For while we are never quite satisfied with what compliments/praise/ commendations we’ve been given, it is also reality that we be prone to see, feel, hear and experience what we want to focus our senses on, some experiences of which can be interpreted as negative.

Perceiving is a choice.

What we choose to focus our attention and time and effort on is our choice to make.

My friend Corry wrote me tonight and said this:
“One offensive remark can stick for decades and praise is so soon discarded or not believed.”

How true- when it comes to experiencing life, it is a matter of choosing what perspective I will embrace about the words spoken to me and experiences I live out. And if this is reality, what perceptions then do I choose to invest my time dwelling on? How then will I perceive what experiences unfold in my life? The lens I choose will determine my path.

I am in the office writing up morning announcements when a colleague comes up to me and grabs my shoulders. She gives me a gift of encouraging words and I don’t quite know how to accept them at first. But throughout the day, the words return to me like a cozy blanket, warming me from within, until I feel strength in my very fibre. The day may have its ups and downs, but I have these words to bolster me, providing support.

And that’s all I really need for today, this little love note to the soul.  The rest are extras, little blessings that come my way.

Everything else is icing on the cake.

Phillipians 4:8
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things

For when I am needing a boost…(my own little internal cheerleader)

I am sitting in a rather dry business meeting, biding the time until that wonderful point of the day when the proverbial whistle blows for three o’clock- when a few words of insight, spoken in passing, grab my waning attention. Let’s just say this, to preface this little nugget of wisdom: it is the only complete sound bite I have stored in memory from that particular meeting, so it was quite influential in its impact and delivery.

“No one knows better than you what you do; so take the time to appreciate all you’ve achieved. You are your own greatest cheerleader.”

Interesting, and….yes. There just might be some truth to that statement. At least from a human standpoint.

So, to take this whole little anecdote to the practical, let’s just say that it’s been that kind of a week. I find as the week has been winding down, my positive spirits and vibes have been following suit. Gearing down. And getting jammed up in the process. So much so that by the time Friday afternoon rolled around, I was feeling like my chin was on the floor. I don’t understand how this happens- there have been many, many positives about the week in which to find joy. So very much to celebrate. But sometimes in the midst of great excitement and fervor, there is a depression of spirit. It’s odd how that happens. Really.

So by late Friday afternoon, I kind of felt like I needed a cheerleader in my corner. And I guessed that cheerleader was going to have to be ME, upon hearing those two short little statements.  And why not? Particularly after kind of having a relevatory moment there while sitting in my chair.

Those words were for me.

And as I took those words in and reflected on them there, while sitting only a few rows back and off to the side of where the speaker stood, I realized: how timely they were spoken and how intentionally were they offered. In fact, they were meant to be said. Even if they were spoken for no one else, but for me. Because like others in my same situation (particularly those of us who are semi-martyers for our families and the causes we support), I (we) need to know that I (we) can count on ourselves to cheer us up. In other words, I need to know that I can count on ME to tell me that it’s okay. To tell myself good things. Encouraging things- about my Self. Things said, so as to positively self-talk and thus bolster confidence and esteem for supporting the person I am becoming. For supporting ME.  So, with that being said, here are a few things I am allowing my confident inner self to say to my fragile public self, this week. Things I am planning to say so as to sustain and strengthen and support myself. And I do hope that these statements might also be used by others in need of a little self-pep talk!

1. You are doing a great job at parenting, teaching, working, volunteering, ‘whatever-ing’(feel free to fill in your own blank here): so keep on keeping on! You’re awesome at what you do! Even a little bit of awesome sauce is enough to spice up whatever you’re eating. A little bit of awesome can go a looooooooong way, baby! Dig it!

2. You are a hard worker- you put in 100 % of yourself into what you do. And I know this- because whatever we give is what we have to give that day. It’s our real deal. It’s what we are. We bring our best to the table, each and every day. So if your best today was just barely scraping your chin off the floor- so it is.  And that’s okay. Whatever you are doing is valuable and important. Own it!

3. You are a good mother, good ‘whatever-er’( again, feel free with this one as well). Don’t doubt yourself. The rest of us don’t- why should you?

4. You are a good teacher, worker, employee, et cetera. Stop comparing yourself to others. Comparisons just take valuable time away from you doing your good, important work. Stay focused and don’t let distractions get you down!  Don’t get involved in drama.

5. You are a beautiful person- don’t worry so much. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Beauty is messy, complicated and unique. Your beauty is exactly the right kind of beauty to suit the person you are becoming. Accept it! Embrace it! Enjoy it.

6. You are not the mistakes you make- you are the victories you win. Stop defining yourself by your failures. Besides, mistakes are just opportunities to grow. Lean into them! Let mistakes become moments of opportunity rather than holes that swallow you up.

7. While you are flawed and human, you are also beloved and wholly set apart for a purpose. Look for the sacred in life. Trust the One who holds you close.

8. You are a Child of God. A precious creation. What more can you be but this? What more do you need to be but this? What a position of privilege! What a place of prominence!

9. You do not need affirmation to confirm what you already know: there will never be another you. You are one of a kind! Undeniably, irrevocably special and unique. You are so loved.

10. And because you are loved, love back. Love yourself. And never stop.  And let love spill out so that others are able to be touched ny that love.  Love covers for a multitude of errors.  Love is everything.

And when we know and understand that we are loved in such ways, we have little need for these kinds of pep talks.

Because love has more than made up for whatever we thought might be missing.

Love and joy tonight, my friends!

Those kinds of days…

There are days when frost covers barren ground. Like a heavy cloak. When tiny buds on frozen tree limbs shimmer with an icy glaze. When tiny shoots of new life, thwarted in process of emerging forth. Are interrupted. Dark, heavy clouds hang low and ready.

There are these kinds of days.

When table talk is centered around what might be, on doom and gloom. When faces are grim. When voices are raw with emotion. When secret disclosures are proffered and understanding is sought after. When you just feel like you can’t take anymore of this murky mess. That they call living.

Authentic. Raw. Transparent.

It’s tough, this business of living real. Of really living. Of making a living of this messy here and now.

There are days like this.

And there are days when darkness pervades. Thick and stifling. Like a deadly gas.
When the outlook from this vantage point seems bleak. Hopeless. And the possibilities are shunted aside in favor of the grim reminders.

There too are days like this: sometimes.

And there are days. When you drive from home to work to home to ‘who knows where’. And you feel like it’s all a rat race. And it feels endless and ‘who knows where you’ll get the strength to carry on tomorrow’. And you can’t stop because you know you’ll never get started again.

Those kind of days.

And then. When you are nearly ready to throw up the white flag, throw in the towel, give up the fight. Something little catches your eye. It’s so little, you almost miss it. A smile. A picture drawn with crayons. A funny cartoon.

Or maybe. Someone throws out a rope- a lifeline that snags your heart. An ‘I love you’ spoken at just the right time. A tender squeeze. A kind word of encouragement. An eye-to-eye conversation that lasts longer than five-seconds.

And on those days when life goes from futile to promising. Just because of something little, because of something small but mighty.

(because of a little game changer)

Count it as a sweet reminder. A blessing. The silver lining. A token to the surety that while life might be brutal, it is also beautiful. Brutiful. Exquisite in a fleeting, fragile way.

And because it is such and so much more, those smallest of gestures- those beautiful reminders of humanity that we also call kairos moments- they mean so much more. Than they ever would have otherwise.

On those kinds of days.