"I have been reading your blog”, said a person I did not know who was on the same group trip. And she was not the only one. I was happy about these new acquaintances. It was encouraging to hear that people read the texts that I sometimes find quite painful to produce.
Some time ago I participated in a discussion evening for adults at our rauhanyhdistys. As an introduction to discussion we heard a presentation titled Encourage each other. A person participating in the discussion mentioned that the true-to-life blogs in online Päivämies had brought support and encouragement into his often lonely everyday life.
Listening to the discussion, I learnt that people had received encouragement in many different ways. I was especially touched by the speech of a person who had recovered from serious illness. She told us that visits and greetings brought to her sickbed had encouraged and refreshed her. The mother of a big family said that it was encouraging just to have someone inquire about her and her family. A person who had lost a dear one had been comforted by other people’s genuine and empathetic presence and willingness to listen. Encouragement does not need to be expressed in elegant words.
I mentioned the importance of listening. I often regret the feeling of “busyness”, which prevents me from properly stopping to listen to a neighbor and to share his or her daily life, worries and joys. I am sure the current atmosphere that underlines individuality and personal success causes loneliness and mental ill feeling. It would therefore be important to really stop by the side of a neighbor, to ask, to hear, to understand, and to empathize.
That discussion evening also made me think about the sources encouragement and support that I have had while living independently for decades. After all, I have had to – or should I rather say, I have had the freedom to – make independently the countless decisions pertaining to my life. Some decisions have been easy to make, but for some others I have needed help from my relatives and friends.
Before retiring, I worked among lively teenagers. I guess there were times when I agonized over how to guide those young people who were growing up and testing the limits set by the authorities. I was often empowered and encouraged when I met some of my old students. It was a joy to see that they had found their place in life and suitable jobs. I was happy for them. This gave me encouragement and support for my work.
I have been happy about my large circle of friends. My life has been rich, as I have been able to glimpse the daily life and the festive moments of my friends of many ages and living in different life situations. They have given me encouragement when I have needed it. I have shared with them both the joys and the worries of my life. "Nothing is a coincidence but part of God’s big plan. Wishing you God’s blessing and safe, happy days ”, I recently read in an email message by a dear friend.
Such encouraging words help me to continue and to trust that my life and my future will be in the safe hands of our Heavenly Father. Most of all, we need encouragement on the road to heaven. This constantly changing time that seems to be full of threats and dangers easily makes us doubt. ”Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.” (1 Thess. 5:11).
Translation: S.-L. Leinonen
Viime sunnuntaina vietettiin laskiaissunnuntaita. Kirkkovuodessa laskiainen aloittaa pääsiäisjakson, ja nimi laskiainen (Esto mihi) viittaa paastoon laskeutumiseen. Varsinainen pääsiäistä edeltävä, 40 arkipäivää kestävä paasto alkaa tänään tuhkakeskiviikkona. Paaston aika huipentuu pääsiäistä edeltävään hiljaiseen viikkoon.
Kirja erilaisuudesta, elämän ainutlaatuisuudesta ja rikkaudesta: teoksessa puheenvuoron saavat erityislapset, heidän läheisensä sekä aiheen parissa työskentelevät ammattilaiset.
Kurssi on suunnattu rauhanyhdistysten johtokunnille, taloudenhoitajille ja muille vastuunkantajille.