Sometimes a word of encouragement comes in the most unexpected, but very welcome, ways. Multiple times in the past week this has happened to me - always when I most needed it. I call them "divine appointments".
The first came in the form of a knock on my back door. I walked into the kitchen to see who was there, always able to know whom I'm opening to because I have french doors with lots of nice windows for visibility, and there was a woman standing on the other side that I've known most of my life in casual settings - a fellow "local" whom I remembered in school so many years ago, whose children went through the local schools with mine, and a community member that I respect and admire for their dedication to making the world a better place. But I've never had her in my home before so I was a bit surprised, wondering what she was looking from me. It turns out that she had simply come to offer me encouragement and boost my morale on this somewhat rocky journey of mine.
We sat and spoke for maybe twenty minutes. Mostly it was she who spoke - I was the pretty much the listener. This was someone who has known great pain in her life and her words had meaning behind them. She wanted me to know I was appreciated and that my community cared about me - and wanted me to know it was important for me not only to survive but to thrive. And that as difficult as this was for me right now, it would get better. She knew what she was talking about.
She left me feeling better than I had in awhile.
Then I received an email from an old friend. Again, it was a word of encouragement, again from a fellow traveler who has known pain - this time a man, not that it matters! But seeing things from another perspective sometimes does. Again meaningful and completely unexpected and totally appreciated.
Then there was the friend who decided I needed to celebrate my birthday and facilitated a dinner at a local restaurant with my two sisters and another friend. A much needed "girls night out" with some of the special people in my life. Again - something that lifted my spirits and lightened my load. I was so grateful.
I hope and pray that if I'm ever in the position to offer encouragement to another, or share my own path with someone who is struggling, I won't overlook the opportunity. I hope that I can pay it forward, just as these people did. And maybe make a difference for somebody else, just as they did for me. Small gestures, with huge payoffs. I'll never forget them. I'll never forget the people, or the unselfish ways they offered themselves. I think they were the angels that the Bible talks about. It says we "entertain" them without knowing it. And they make a difference in our lives. I say bring on the angels!