Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Encouragement for the Journey

That's the view from my house. I took the photo last fall. I usually walk down a set of stairs/sidewalk for a few blocks to enter the heart of Morgantown and the heart of WVU's campus and start my day of work. I think it's pretty incredible to live in a town where I can walk to and from my primary workspace, and where there's a pretty reliable public transit bus system to boot. The morning air in Morgantown refreshes me, but when I see a view like this image every day, it's just a great encouragement as I start my day.

Do you know what else is an encouragement to me? The words of others. Late Saturday night, my friend Jim Pace sent me a message across twitter. Jim and I have both been involved in the spiritual development of college students and young professionals for the last few year. We also spent a few summers working together in a summer leadership training program that we (along with a few others) led for college students. He's a great friend, and he's just written a book called Should We Fire God? Jim leads a church of about 1000 students at Virginia Tech, and has walked through some really difficult times there. In fact, he had the challenge of representing the faith community of Virginia Tech on major network television and walking his parishioners and staff through the grieving after the shootings back in 2007. Honestly, he is an inspiration to me.

And that's the irony. Late saturday night, I received this message on twitter. "@chanchanchepon just want to say this... You inspire me man. No joking, you really do." I don't know what prompted the message, but I do know that it meant a lot to hear words from my friend.

A similar thing happened to Jamie Sunday morning before church. She received a text from a mutual friend that said "Thanks for bringing me to Jesus." Can you believe it? What a text! It was from a mutual friend who left the area just a couple of years ago. Needless to say, Jamie was very touched by that text, and honestly, so was I.

You see, I've come to a realization lately that we end up touching people's lives far more than we realize. And yet, we are so slow to share that truth with others. Maybe you've shared your faith with friends or family members and then lost contact with them, and they now have embraced a life of faith. Maybe you took the time to listen to a friend when they were hurting and didn't know where to turn, but you comforted them. Maybe you were the one whose words may have seemed to sever a friendship, but they were actually the words that rescued someone from destroying their life.

Or maybe you are reading this, and realizing, "You know what, when ________ said or did _______, it really helped me, and I never took the time to thank them or let them know."

You know what I think? I think that YOU have had more of an impact on others than you may ever realize in this life. I also think that YOU have a great opportunity to encourage someone today just by sending a note, a text, a tweet, an email, or (deep breath) a letter. Never, never underestimate the power of your words or your presence in the life of another.

Maybe you are reading this and thinking about all of the people who have touched your life (to be honest it's what I'm doing too). You probably feel overwhelmed (because I do). Can I make a suggestion? Take a moment to send a little encouragement to just one person today.

Honestly, your note could make more of an impact in that person's day than you realize, and it will probably make a difference in your own day as you take time to remember the kindness of others.

So get to it. Seriously. It'll just take a second, and it's a really good thing.



christine-marie said...

Hi, I just discovered Nuru today on another site and I couldn't help noticing the similarities between what their organization is about and a book I came across a few years ago called The Geography of Hunger which was commissioned by the British Government just after the second world war. It was written by an amazing Brazilian economist and nutritionist named Jose Castro. He pointed out the economic and geo-political reasons for poverty around the world and suggested viable and practicable means to end the cycle of poverty and hunger worldwide. If these ideas had been adhered to back then we would be living in a much different world now and I'm so happy to see another incarnation of these ideas in the organization NURU.

chanchanchepon said...


thanks for sharing The Geography of Hunger I'll have to give it a read sometime over the holidays. :)