Occasionally, I will whisper a prayer as I’m walking from my front door to my car: “Lord, encourage me today.”

Today, I realized that what I really need to do is shout a prayer of thanksgiving: “Thank you for the encouragement I get all day long.”

Before I walk out the front door, I get more encouragement in a few minutes than many people get in a week. Wife Becky will give me caring words, sweet words, love words, prayer words. And Gracie, our faithful little protector of our castle, will encourage me by communicating that she’d rather I stay home with her, watching as she chases squirrels and bumby rabbits.

All day long, I get responses from people that I will take as encouragement, whether that’s the intention or not. Sometimes a smile, a friendly greeting or a door opened for a seasoned gentleman – that would be me – goes a long way.

Professional people who treat me as, yes, a professional give me a boost. No, I don’t always get that. And I’m even learning to be kinder and gentler to those people who greet me with a growl. Now that’s encouragement for sure when I can do that.

What really got me on this train of thought was a conversation I had this morning with Margie VerHagen, executive director of Meals on Wheels of Rockwall County. I realized that I had not sufficiently thanked her for honoring me and 23 others on “Older American Day” on May 25.

It was such a special day that Becky was there for the ceremony.  Editor Anne from our newspapers was there, treating it like a real news event – and it was. County Judge David Sweet and Rockwall Mayor Jim Pruitt were there to greet the honorees as we were introduced.

We were recognized for our contributions to our community and thanked for “making a difference in Rockwall County.” Now, that was encouragement bigtime.

There are encouraging events that happen almost every day. And that encouragement is delivered by some of the dearest people on this earth. 

Adrian and Narvis. Friends. Just knowing they’re there when I need them encourages beyond words.

Today, my shoe angel showed up to present me with a brand new pair of running shoes before I went into the Historic Courthouse for a commissioners court meeting. Three times she has contacted me, telling me that she has Asics Nimbus running shoes with my name on them. If anybody asks, she has told me, the shoes are from Jesus.

I’ve already told you a little about Becky and Gracie. Every day. She’s wonderful with her words, but just listening to Becky sleep encourages me. She’s had some sleep struggles. To listen – yes listen – to her sleep is music to my ears.

Son Isaac calls almost every day to tell me about his run of the day or just to talk with his dad. Daughter Amy, the real newsperson of the family, calls to give me news tips and sometimes just to talk with her dad.

And, Noah, our 17-year-old grandson. I don’t care where we are, when he sees me, I get a hug.

And some of the best encouragement this life has to offer comes every single night via telephone.

“I love you, son,” my 94-year-old mom will tell me.

Answered prayer. Encouraged? No doubt. Thankful? No doubt.


Jim Hardin may be reached at jhardin@heraldbanner.com.

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