I would love to start out this entry making it all about us needy “struggling writers.” But I can’t. What happened to me today, with the delivery of boxes containing my newest children’s book, was a reminder that has application for all of us all the time.
Let me explain.
I had been waiting all day for the delivery of my books. When they came, the UPS driver wheeled 10 heavy boxes into my garage and unloaded them. While piling them in a dry, safe place, he asked what was in the boxes. When I told him they were copies of a children’s book I wrote, he seemed very interested. I asked if he wanted to see one and he was quick to agree. I keyed open the top box and handed him a copy. He thumbed through the pages and read some of the story with a great deal of interest. When he finished, he was so encouraging not only about the book but the fact that I had written it—that I was an "author". He commented on the illustrations so I told him about the illustrator, Tal Burdine, and a little bit about the process all the while his positive words and encouraging comments filling the time. Even though we didn’t know each other, his comments and thoughtful observations were enough for me to believe they were real and sincere. He was impressed by my little book. He really took notice of me and my accomplishment. It felt good. The whole abbreviated interchange was amazing though lasting less than 5 minutes.
There are days that I wonder if real, valid encouragement—a verbal pat on the back or hug to the heart—is a lapsing ability or a fading skill. Is it fair to say that the opportunities for us to point out the goodness in others are limited by our own lack of concern in another person’s value? Have we become so busy, self-indulgent or fearful of each other that we dismiss an opening to highlight in a specific way another person’s value— to inspire them? Gosh, I hope not.
The UPS driver reminded me how important sincere, kind, uplifting, supportive words are—maybe even more so when they come from a stranger. And it only took him less than 5 minutes.