February 29

Today's quotation:

Sometimes our light goes out but is blown into flame by another human being.  Each of us owes deepest thanks to those who rekindled this light.

Albert Schweitzer

Today's Meditation:

Why are other people here?  Why are we not alone in this world?  Even though we sometimes may feel lonely and isolated, the fact is that there are many, many other people with us on this planet who have the ability--and desire--to see us do well, succeed, be the best people we can be.  These are the people who try to encourage us when we're down, who try to build us up when things aren't going well, who try to help us to keep our flames burning bright even in the darkest hours.

Albert says that we owe our "deepest thanks" to these people, and I agree with him.  I know that in my life, there have been plenty of times when an encouraging and uplifting word from someone who cared has made a huge difference in how I've seen life at a given time.  Instead of going deeper into despair or hopelessness or even depression, I've been encouraged by these people who have given me a spark that has allowed me to rekindle the flame of hope, to relight my own light that had been growing steadily dimmer.

If we acknowledge our debt to these people--no matter who they are and no matter how small their contribution to our live might seem--we start to see the importance of their actions in our lives.  And then we have to ask ourselves if we can pass on their kindnesses, if we can provide that kind of spark to someone else who's in need.  I know that doing this will be the greatest way possible to repay these people and their kindnesses, and I know that they would feel tremendously gratified to know that their positive contribution to my life led to my positive contributions to the lives of others.

I often think of how others have encouraged me when I try to encourage others.  I try to remember how I felt when I needed encouragement when I try to recognize just who could use some encouragement.  My deepest thanks go out to the people who have taught me such an important lesson, and my hope is that I can repay them by passing on their teachings.

Questions to consider:

Which people in your life have helped to "blow into flame" the light in your life?

In which ways can you do the same for others?

What are some ways of expressing our deepest thanks?

For further thought:

One of the noblest words in our language is "grace," defined as "unearned blessing."  We live by grace far more than by anything else.  Accordingly, I find that the one thing which I want to put into practice in my own life is the conscious and deliberate habit of finding someone to thank.

Elton Trueblood

more thoughts and ideas on encouragement



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