Recently I had the pleasure of meeting and working with a man whom I have long admired from afar. He is the kind of individual who commands attention and rarely, if ever, lets you down with his insight. However, it is not his lofty accomplishments, sharp intellect, or reputation that I laud as what makes him remarkable; it is his attention to the details of human connection that sets him apart.
From the small jokes that disarm the fear of pretentiousness to the hand written note I received in the mail today, I am reminded that amidst all our grandiose posturing, it is the little human touches that separate ordinary from extraordinary. It is the hand written note, the expression of gratitude, an affirmation of talent, or the remembering of a name that exhorts and builds us up. This small edification or investment in another person, the living out of 1 Thessalonians 5:11, is so easily set aside when faced with busyness or with the assumption that it is not required, desired, or appreciated. However, nothing could be further from the truth or more important. In terms of human impact it needs to rise to the highest level of priority.
Today as I sat down to work, I was not only buoyed by the positive affirmation of my work but also deeply impacted by the printed part of the card. A single word, “believe,” graced the blank side of the card, now filled with the crisp block letters sharing words of encouragement. On the back a quote from the explorer, Ferdinand Magellan:
The sea is dangerous and its storms terrible, but these obstacles have never been sufficient reason to remain ashore. Unlike the mediocre, intrepid spirits seek victory over those things that seem impossible. It is with an iron will that they embark on the most daring of all endeavors; to meet the shadowy future without fear and conquer the unknown.
Important words for the journey.
This little card in the mail, a few short words and a quote, reminded me that in all that we do, from the mundane to the newsworthy, we need to pause, to reflect on those around us, and then to affirm, edify, and encourage the people we share the journey with. It’s not a choice, easily set aside; rather it’s the currency of human connection and the fuel that spurs us on. I am grateful for this poignant reminder, from a person who I know could be excused for not having the time. His few minutes of thoughtfulness transformed my entire day.