…nor the glow of greatness, but that wherever thou go some weary heart shall gladden at thy smile, or shadowed life know sunshine for a while.  And so thy path shall be a track of light, like angels’ footsteps passing through the night.   (Inscription on a church wall in Upwaltham, England).

Life requires a lot of encouragement.  Everyone you meet needs to hear it moving in the winds, feel it in the empty spaces, and embrace it whenever possible.  How does it happen?  How does the light of encouragement cast its beam on those who stand in the shadows?  Through you!  You are the voice of encouragement.  You are the arms that lift the burdens from someone else’s shoulders.  You are the smile that gives them hope and permission to go on.  And the fact is, it’s a full time job.  You are always on call, always needed, always a blessing.  Since I know many of you, I am grateful for the ways you encourage me and others.

It takes courage to be there for others, to lend a helping hand when you’d rather do other things.  It takes courage to offer kindhearted advice for the good of someone else, or to simply listen when no advice seems appropriate.  One of the beautiful things about coming out from behind an office desk, or a computer screen, is that it helps us to  see the humanity in each other.  We can forget the simple things, the quiet needs of others when we’re locked into a space we’ve carved out only for ourselves. I wonder sometimes what brings out the best in us, the most generous side of us?  Certainly, it’s not when we have ringside seats at our favorite sporting event, or we’re listening to presidential debates.  Certainly, it’s not when we seek more for ourselves, even competing with ourselves in the work we do.

Evel Knievel was born on this date in 1938.  He was a legend because of the ways he competed to become better and better at his own death-defying dramas.  Though he had a plethora of character flaws, he had enviable traits as well.  He encouraged others to believe in themselves, to be the best at whatever they wanted to do in life, and to stay away from abusing chemical substances.  Late in life he was encouraged by faith in God.

So, if God can use Evel (Knievel) for good, then imagine what He can do for you.  That’s an encouraging thought all by itself.  Whatever else you do today, leave a track of light for someone else to follow.  It makes seeing what’s up ahead a whole lot easier.  Blessings to all my favorite encouragers out there…LaTan, Judy, Bev, Sandy, Grace…and a host of others…you know who you are!  Shine on!