Summer days, Summer nights….where have you gone?
It was so effortless contemplating Encouragement while relaxing on a deck chair, sleeping in late, with no agenda to mark my moments. For 10 days, I drifted away from anything that felt difficult or tricky, floating along on graceful waves toward Tranquility Town, a most desirable destination while on vacation/staycation.
Reading….Writing….Sunshine….Great Food….Great Company….
What a perfect environment for Encouragement to flourish!
Well, it did flourish….until day 11, when my foot met the gas pedal on my drive back to work….Arghhhh!!
I am lucky to have a job, I tell myself.
Having a steady paycheque gives my family so many opportunities, I remind myself.
This career saved me from a disastrous relationship, I scold myself.
Get your cheer in gear!!
Nope. Not today.
Perhaps a gauge is out of order. My tank sign reads FULL, but there is no gumption today.
This cannot be! I just spend 10 wonderful days in Cool Cucumber Land….how can I have nothing in my tank? I had Strength and Hope to Encourage THEM, Grace enough to Encourage US, and now on the week of trying to find what it means to Encourage YOU, the reserves are dry and I am parched.
Ok, FINE! No Encouragement. I guess that means no blogging for a while either, since my focus IS Encouragement. I could skip the rest of the topic….who would notice?
OR….scam out some rickety wisdom stolen from another person’s less complicated life….
It is a wacky, woolly ride, this Finding 52, full of big falls, huge surprises, awesome rewards, and heart wrenching defeats….but it is real. Not stolen, not invented, and not giving up when things get bumpy. So, I put down my laptop and decided to breathe. I would not chase Encouragement. If it is to be found for YOU….for Week 39….there will have to be another way.
Because right now, I am tired.
Tired of being ‘upbeat’ all the time. Tired of trying to make lemonade out of life lemons that keep dropping from the sky. Tired of being so tired I cannot remember where I put the squeezy thing that makes refreshing summer drinks from sour, stinging fruit, so I cross my arms….dig in my heels….skid to a halt, and look around dazed, having no recollection of who or where I am, or how I got here….yes, that kind of tired.
So, I took a week off from writing, slid back into routine, and hoped to stumble upon a little Encouragement for YOU, for Week 38. I was not too tired to pick out this weeks’ icon. It seemed unrelated to the topic, other than it makes me happy for 2 reasons:
#1 – It was made from Mum’s hand, one of many that I was able to acquire and keep before ‘the fire’, but recently let go to be repurposed by a sweet niece who creates pre-loved masterpieces. Check out her Facebook Page:
Mum would have liked this recycology stuff, so I momentarily suppressed my hoarding ways, and released a tight grip I held inside the drawers and shelves of an overcrowded basement closet.
Now, I had already put away Mum’s doilies, in an effort to modernize our cozy country-style home. This happened right around the same time I stopped wearing sweats pants out of the house. It was a “What Not To Wear meets HGTV” phase. I was surprised how easy it was to ‘break up’ with my sweats. I tossed them….and any other clothes that did not make me feel fantastic….but could I toss something created from Mum’s time and effort? No way! So, on a shelf they sat, until Niece came calling for them all, except one, which found a home in my Finding 52 Icon basket.
#2 – I get happy when I see this doily. It reminds me to sit and craft for a while. It tangibly connects me to mum, as my fingers can feel her love in every stitch. It may be why I am a lover of textiles. Nothing brings me more pleasure than running my fingertips along a rich, intricate weave of fibers or material. It is why online shopping can never be my thing. I need to touch it, to know it! I feel Mum now, by touching what she touched. And….according to my kids, I touch them a lot, too. I guess it is how I know them.
Maybe this icon is deeply related to Encouragement, as it has helped me realize what it takes to be an Encourager….which I assumed would be heavily verbal in nature. Always having a positive anecdote or snippet of wisdom at my disposal, reframing negativity out loud, and my tongue leaning with fervour toward the ‘Brightside’ whenever given a chance. Since vocalizing is a comfortable media for me, I can also use it to disguise any discomfort I experience when facing tough matters….which basically feels like a superpower….vanquishing all my fears, sorrows and stress by obliterating anything negatively charged.
I love my superpower! In a weird….but not creepy way….I think it loves me back. 😉
Being eternally optimistic is exhausting! It takes high doses of adrenalin to keep pumping out good news. My cheeks hurt from smiling….my tongue swells from chattering rainbows….my eyebrows spasm from constantly lifting my face into an arching exclamation mark that begins and ends all sentences….
….but where was I? Oh yes, my tank is empty, I am not chasing Encouragement, I am going back to work after 10 days off and I see it….Mad Dennis’ empty office chair! We arrive at different start times, so I was not worried for his whereabouts. But as the day progressed, and his chair remained unoccupied, I finally had to ask about his status. A collegue said he had been told to find another assignment; there was no longer suitable work for him in our department.
My heart sank. This did not sound like a standard operating personnel process. We are drowning in work, desperate for more employees. Anyone with a pulse and a laptop is gladly given a desk and some sticky notes. No, he was tossed like my sweats….given a clear, yet unspoken message of….YOU do not fit, YOU do not belong, YOU fail. My thoughts immediately raced to blaming myself for not staying a course of persistent Posi-tiva Diva tactics. I had failed him by staying quiet, when I should have been shouting from our industrial fluorescent dropdown ceiling. My back-side ached from kicking myself for not Encouraging the ‘caa-caa’ outta him. I confessed my crimes to hubby that night and wondered why….
Why….after all this retrospective, introspective, proactive, intuitive work….why am I still falling so short in being a good person and doing a good thing?
I was down on myself. Really DOWN!
Now I was empty….and deflated….and disappointed. Did I mention tired….?
At work the following day, a chipper voice down that long hallway called out and I turned to see Dennis smiling and waving at me. Smiling. Who knew he could smile?
He said he was back, would be working with us again, and apologized to me for his poor attitude and negative comments. He said he had an epiphany to do better. Maybe he reads my blog….
I shrugged my shoulders up, accepted his cool apology by alluding to something about being a trooper, and we walked to our desks laughing like it had always been that way.
I have no clue if my interactions with him affected his changing tune, but maybe there is more to this ‘quiet example’ thing….modelling what I stand for, instead of blurting it out constantly. And, that is exactly the approach I used with all the YOU’s in my world this week.
Words do not always fit. Showing up and showing love seems to be enough.
My name is AJ….and I Endorse Encouragement.