The World Belongs To The Encourager


The World Belongs To The Encourager

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I waited anxiously in the Colorado Springs airport.  Her smile lit up my soul when we made eye contact as we spotted each other in the crowded little airport.  It felt good to have my big sister come and visit me for the weekend.  I had the sudden urge to invite her out to stay with me and enjoy some time hanging out with each other.

I had a fun weekend planned.  We would go to the famous Broadmoor Hotel to watch a professional ballroom competition.  Kim, an outstanding professional ballerina, jazz, and tap dancer herself, was thrilled with the opportunity to watch and judge the other couples competing to be the best at their craft.

We would head up to the famed Stanley Hotel in Estes Park to attend a wedding and hang out with some friends, but most of all it was just good to have my sister around because she was such a positive influence in my life.  It proved to be an important trip for us, because little did we both know that she was only months away from her untimely death.

Kim was special to me because she was my greatest encourager.  She cried with tears of joy at my cross-country and track races.  She would greet me with “Hello Winner!” over the phone when I called her.  She was usually the first person to come to my defense during times of strife.  I was drawn to her, because she was my primary source of encouragement.

When Kim died and we greeted people at her funeral, I realized that I was not alone.  I discovered that Kim had become an encourager to so many people in her life.  I heard dozens of stories where Kim made a difference for someone simply by encouraging them to face their challenges.

I especially remember an observation the Senior Pastor’s wife made about Kim.  “You know, I never heard your sister ever criticize her husband.”

“Really?” I inquired, not truly understanding the power in that statement, because I was not yet married myself.

“Yeah, sometimes when a bunch of women get together they can become critical of their spouses and complain about this or that, but not Kim, she was always very positive and encouraging about her husband and I was always impressed by that.” She smiled.

A year later, I was going through some boxes as I unpacked my things in my new home.  I discovered a roll of undeveloped film (this was before life with digital cameras and smart phones of course!).  I was curious, so I had it developed.  I smiled and tears formed in my eyes when I looked at the photos I retrieved from the one hour photo shop.

The pictures were from that special weekend with my sister back in Colorado Springs.  The sparkle in her eyes sent butterflies in my stomach as I recollected our weekend together.  My heart ached for her encouragement, but my soul was inspired by the impact she had in my life.  She was my big sister, my big encourager.

When I think about my own life, I often wonder what I am to most people I interact with on a regular basis.  Am I their encourager like my sister was for me?  Sadly, I often come to the conclusion that the answer is a flat “no!” and is an area of my life that I know I must to work to improve.  Luckily for me, I have a model of what an encourager looks like, acts like, and how that kind of person can make you feel, because I have the memory of Kim.

When times are tough and you need encouragement, who do you call?  Think of that person and then pick up the phone and call them to thank them for being a source of encouragement for you.  Then ask yourself this fundamental question.  Does anyone call you when they need encouragement?  Are you an encourager? If not, become one, because life is so much better when encouragers inhabit the world.  So why not be one yourself?

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14 comments

  1. Thank you for this, Erick. It made me cry, but it was wonderful.

    Reply
    1. Crying cleanses the soul. It is a powerful as laughter and just as necessary. Thank you for your tears.

      Reply
  2. Eric, You are an encourager, your writings touch me every time I read them. Lost my husband, my Mother last year as well as my life long best friend. I had already lost my dad, so when I lost my mom it has made me feel like an orphan. I find comfort in your words and the outlook you have give me encouragement to look at things in my life in a different way, to move forward. You write so well you should be publishing.
    Thank you for sharing.

    Reply
    1. Hey Linda. Thanks for your feedback. I had no idea you lost your husband and mother last year. Alia and I will remember you in our prayers this evening. Losing someone close to you is never easy, but in a way it is also a blessing, because in order to feel such pain means you had so much love with that person. With love ultimately comes pain, but in the end love will prevail. I’m interested in any advice on how you dealt with the loss of your mother and father. Someday, hopefully much later I will have to face that with my parents and will lean on your advice on how to deal with it.

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  3. Kim was awesome!

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    1. She certainly was, Jack, and so are you. Thanks for helping me move during that time and being a good friend in a time of need as you have always been for me. You are the man!

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  4. Erick, what a beautiful touching story. After I read this today, I ask myself “who encourages me?” and without hesitation, I said “Erick Rheam!” I love reading your stories each week, and look forward to them. Even though I am retired now, your messages encourage and inspire me to be a better person! Without realizing, your sister definitely left a very positive attitude with you! God bless! And continue to ENCOURAGE others!

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    1. Thanks for your feedback, Joyce. My sister was exceptional, to say the least. I miss her, but try to encourage others the way she did, so your words are a gift. Thank you!

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  5. That was beautiful, Erick! I was in Thunderettes and Indianettes with Kim such a fun and humorous person; I loved watching her perform; she was outstanding! Kim was the very best Indian Maiden…Miss her!!

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    1. Thanks, Darla! I loved her as our Maiden. She made us proud!

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  6. Erick,
    As always, your words are heartfelt. I will never forget that day this world lost Kim. She was a wonderful young woman and everyone loved her. You made me cry. Sweet story!

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    1. Thanks, Jackie! You were an awesome help during that time.

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  7. Dear Erick, Patsy and Ron–These loving and thoughtful reflections on your beautiful Kim have touched me so deeply. I remember her always and will be forever grateful for having known her. Your words on encouraging others and on being thankful for encouragement when we most need it are appreciated more than I can say. Please know that my memories of you, Erick, will be with me always. With love.

    Reply
    1. Awesome words, Mrs. Dorris. You mean so much to the Anderson community. Thank you!

      Reply

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