Whatever you do, you need courage.  Whatever course you decide upon, there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong.  There are always difficulties arising that tempt you to believe your critics are right.  To map out a course of action and follow it to an end requires some of the same courage that a soldier needs.  Peace has its victories, but it takes brave men and women to win them.     Ralph Waldo Emerson

Hardly  a day passes that doesn’t summon us to muster some kind of courage to make a decision, create a new opportunity, take another step in a process.  We may not feel like soldiers heading off to battle an unknown enemy as we approach each day, but we do have to arm ourselves with a renewed sense of truth and raise the flags of hope as the landscape around us changes.  The good news is that we are surrounded by others who walk with us, carrying the banners of love and prayer to strengthen us.  All we need then is encouragement and encouragement is like oxygen for the soul.  We are able to breathe more deeply and receive more fully the things that give us abundant life.

Recently, I’ve witnessed great strength in people that might otherwise have every reason to be discouraged.  They have found a way to keep a positive spirit in the light of overwhelming odds, to raise the bar of expectation to become more than they ever dreamed they could be.  They have genuine courage.  They have the courage to trust in the God of their hearts in the midst of any turmoil.  They have the courage to believe in the genuine goodness of life and the people around them.  They have the wisdom to know that everything changes and that their dreams and their ideals can be upheld if they simply carry on.  They have a part to play to make things better as they strive to get to a place of peace once more.

The job for any of us then is to be a source of encouragement, to help fill the oxygen supply, create an air of optimism, affirm the good.  We are the ones who must wield the sword of power in the battle our neighbors face each day.  We have something to give that can change the course of events.  We can offer the hand of friendship, the voice of discernment, the listening ear of wisdom.  We can make a difference.

Perhaps it’s not easy today for you to be that voice.  Especially if your own life feels a bit scrambled, a bit over the top and out of sync with your comfort zone.  But you see the good news is this.  Your neighbor, your friend, someone close to you is looking out for you as well.  You’re not in this place or this time or this event of your life alone.  Watch out today for those who are walking along side you like a breath of fresh air.  Breathe in the kindness and the clarity of vision that comes your way and then pass it along.  Be an advocate for good, a trusted source of genuine love and light.

This kind of effort always reflects so well on you and casts a beam that defies the darkness.  Yes, it’s another good day to shine.  Be encouraged.  You’re not alone!  Know you are already blessed!

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