In Which I Can Encourage Others

A Year of Being Kind blog – Saturday, August 30, 2014

God faith and hope 1 Peter

In Which I Can Encourage Others

It sure feels good to be encouraged!

I fielded some telephone calls today—and a few were significant, for several reasons. Plus—I think I was able to help and encourage others as I responded to them.

One call, in particular, made me a little less anxious. Caused me to breathe a little more easily. And, I tried to encourage the person on the other end of the line, too. I think the call was mutually beneficial. That always makes me feel great!

There was some aftermath from the memorial service yesterday, too. Today, I strove to encourage people I met who attended the service with me yesterday afternoon. Yes, memorial services are almost always sad, and yes, I know many people who are coming to terms with their grief, their loss, their sadness and sorrow. It’s not only a gift to be able to encourage and comfort individuals who were (and are) affected, but it’s also a gift to give groups of people an opportunity to come together and support each other.

This goes for any one of a number of situations or experiences. Whether I’m speaking to a group of people, a few others in conversation, or one on one. It also makes me think of something very natural for me when I was working as a chaplain. My wonderful mentor in pastoral care told me it was so important to journey with hurting, troubled people. Claude-Marie was superb at doing exactly this, and I always felt so listened-to, so understood when I spent some time with her. Well—that’s what I strive to do for others. Now, in the past, and into the future as well.

Just as much as I honestly, earnestly tried to be an encouragement to others today, I was encouraged, too. A friend of mine sent me an email, and he said such encouraging, kind and affirming things to me in that letter, I told him that I wanted to print out that specific email and carry it around with me. That way, I would be able to pull out his email when I felt down, discouraged and blue.

God, thanks for friends who help me to feel better, feel good, or just plain feel positive about myself, my situation, and my relationships. I hope that I will continue to be able to encourage others, give them a hand, or say a kind word to them. After all, that is what A Year of Being Kind is all about: 365 Days of Service.


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“You’ve Got Mail!” — Kindness through Email

A Year of Being Kind blog – Monday, August 18, 2014

BK life is short-be kind

“You’ve Got Mail!” — Kindness through Email

Ever think of two people, and have a sneaking suspicion that the two of them would get along well together? I mean, more than a strong hunch?

Last week, I wrote about St. Viator’s High School. I also made a new acquaintance in Father Corey. (Can I call him a new friend? I hesitate, since I have a great deal of respect for him and I don’t want to impose. But, maybe, I do have a new friend. I could ask, next time he and I exchange email.)

When we talked last week, Fr. Corey told me about the Children of Abraham Coalition. This interfaith group has a worthy, worthwhile goal and cause. Let me quote from their mission statement: “Our mission is to educate others about the Abrahamic traditions, to be ambassadors for interfaith dialogue and to continue to learn about and build relationships between our religions as we work to fill the world with Salaam, Shalom, Peace.”

The Children of Abraham Coalition (COAC) has about four large events in the course of a year. In September, they are going to be getting together to commemorate the tragedy of 9/11 in a dinner at St. Viator’s High School in Arlington Heights. As Fr. Corey told me more and more about the COAC, I knew like a shot that my good friend Dan (the Reverend Dan McNerney, Presbyterian Church/USA minister) would be all over this like a cheap suit on a used car salesman.

So, I sent Dan a great, gratitude-filled email. (I mean, I communicated with him through email.) Dan is quite active in social media, and I sent him a new note, with the contact info about the Coalition. Dan is also active on his own, concerning Christian and Muslim relations. He regularly instructs interfaith groups face to face, as well as on social media. I told Fr. Corey about him!

After a bit of an email exchange with Fr. Corey, I made sure that Dan was in contact. I told him what a wonderful place St. Viator’s High School was. And, I made sure that Dan had Fr. Corey’s contact information. I hope that these two men truly connect. That was my prayer in the first place.

Dear God, bless the work of the Coalition. (For further information, check out )


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Of Computers and of Service

A Year of Being Kind blog – Monday, May 12, 2014


HAPPY I'll be happy

Of Computers and of Service

Today was a computer day. I did a good deal of work on the computer, reading, writing and sending emails. I also read various articles and posts. Responded to several more, and communicated in various computer-ways.

I could talk about the interesting exchange of tweets I had today on Twitter, but the subject matter was rather esoteric. (I enjoyed it! But, I am not sure whether lots of other people would be too interested.) Instead, I want to mention a post I responded to. The blog is – and Marilyn spent a good number of years outside of the United States, and this blog highlights that aspect of her life. (Life as a Third Culture Kid—TCK—or someone who’s neither this . . . nor that.) Robynn also contributes to this blog—another TCK.

Today’s post was From “Yes, but” to “But God” and Marilyn spoke of her experience living in New England. How people there often respond to bright, happy comments with, “Yes, but . . . “ She then followed that up with talking about her snappy comeback: “But God!” I was intrigued. My mind started whirring. (Of course it did.) I started typing a comment, and it became more than a comment. It turned into a post of its own! Except, a post for my other blog, – The post is called “Prayer Lessons from Improv? Yup.”

I also typed a response to Marilyn’s article, which I posted before lunch. In it, I talked about how the “Yes, But . . . “ post had started me thinking about my two years in comedy improv. The example I gave: “. . . the saying, “Never ‘No, but . . .’ Always ‘Yes, and . . !’” If, in improv, I say “No, but . . . ” in a sketch, I’m putting on the breaks. The sketch runs out of gas, FAST! However, if I say “Yes, and . . . ” then the sketch gains momentum! It has the potential to go to further, greater heights.”

Lo and behold, Marilyn’s compatriot Robynn responded to my comment with, “I want to do improv in Chicago!” (Yup, Robynn. Improv was great. I enjoyed it!)

I so enjoyed giving Robynn some more information, in return. I talked more about the improv classes, but I finally brought it around to communicating in various ways, and specifically preaching. (I enjoy preaching, too—in case anyone couldn’t guess!)

I hope my computer-communication was of service today. I hope so. I pray so! Please, God, send me some good, worthwhile way to be of service tomorrow.


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