I work with kids at church. And a lot of my life lessons are learnt when I teach them or when I am preparing to teach them. And perhaps my biggest ever lesson learnt was this – the power of a spoken word.
I’ve had 5 and 6 years olds say to me in class, words that have penetrated my heart. I was once teaching my class how cool a God we serve. I was sharing with the kids a personal experience of mine that had touched me, when a little boy looked straight at me and said, “God can do much more cooler things than that.” I had to pause for a minute because my eyes were tearing up. I was going through some personal issues at that time, and his words ministered to my heart instantly. I felt strengthened immediately. Another time, a little one said, ‘God is so big and yet He is so small that He can fit into my heart’. Wow! Blew my mind. I was amazed at the simplicity of his words and even more amazed at the magnitude of the God we serve.
If words spoken out of pure innocence can bring a joy to my heart and renew my spirit, how much more can the words that were spoken to encourage someone, light up their life. I realised a ‘Great Job!’ comment to a kid meant a lot to the kid. I realised a ‘You look beautiful today’ comment to a little girl brought out a smile that stayed on the whole morning and possible rest of her day. I realised a HighFive and a hug works wonders in making a kid feel loved. But my greatest realisation was that, these simple actions worked even bigger miracles in an adult.
One time, a stranger on the road commented, I had a beautiful voice. Another time, another stranger in the lift with Arun and me, on hearing us talk in Tamil, commented that our language was musical to ears. Another time a colleague said, ‘Here comes sunshine’ when I stepped into the office. A lady on the train once said she liked the scarf that I was wearing. When I look back at all these events, I remember a nice feeling. I remember smiling at all the comments offered passingly. It did not matter what I was going through at that instant, but I smiled. It made my day that day. And to think that I still remember all these comments after all these days, I am happy that someone decided to give me a compliment that may have meant nothing to them. But to me, meant a whole world.
I know now, that a person does not have to look like Angelina Jolie for me to tell her, ‘You look beautiful’. I know now, that someone does not necessarily have to sing like Mariah Carey for me to say ‘You sing beautiful.’ If you choose to call it ‘lowering standards’, it’s your choice. I call it, learning to see the beauty in everything.
The more you give, the more you receive. I’m not taking about the compliments. Each time, I give out a compliment; I can see the joy on the receiver’s face. And that brings joy to my heart. More than what I gave out. Try it for yourself and see. The more you give out joy, the more joy you will receive.