Much Needed Affirmation
Feb 13, 2022 | by The Fellowship
A couple of weeks before Christmas, Pastor Jerry challenged us to go out of our way during the Christmas season to show people whom we interact with in our everyday lives that they are seen and appreciated. My husband and I prayed and discussed how to show various people who provide services for us how much we value them.
Right away, my husband thought of two or three people he sees several times a week and how they might be encouraged if he gave them some money. That week, he singled each one out to thank them for all they do and to give them the gift. Watching how much joy it gave him to express appreciation to these people, I began to think of whom I could encourage.
The three ladies at my hair salon, whom I have known for several years, came to mind. Each has a role in the salon – one does color, one shampoos, and the owner cuts and styles hair. All three emigrated from Vietnam many years ago and worked hard to become U.S. citizens.
The prior week while I was in the salon, a lady had complained loudly about another customer who had come late and how she made everyone else’s appointment run late. “It is unfair to everyone!” she complained. I saw how flustered and embarrassed the salon owner was -- and how badly I felt for her (though she never said a word).
Reflecting on the sermon, I thought that if there were any individuals who needed encouragement, it was those three ladies. I decided to give each of them a handwritten note of appreciation and enclose some money. The next day, I drove to the salon to deliver the notes and wish them “Merry Christmas.”
I went back to the salon in late January. For some reason, I was a little embarrassed to go in the door, feeling unsure of what their reaction would be. However, each one told me personally how much the notes of encouragement meant to them and how they appreciated the money. The most surprising comment came from the owner. Of course, I had no idea of her thoughts and feelings when I wrote the note, but in it I told her what a beautiful job she did with everybody’s hair, and how professional she always was -- no matter how she was treated or what was said in the salon.
Those words had more of an effect than I would have imagined. She said, “When I read your note, I felt that you really understood me and what I have to put up with constantly. The way I am treated, especially when it is by a 17-year-old while her mother sits by and not saying a word about how disrespectfully her daughter speaks to me, sometimes makes me feel like a bug being squashed under their shoes – completely worthless.” At that point, she was starting to tear up and she continued, “Before becoming a stylist, in my country I was a registered nurse and the shampoo lady was a teacher. We could not find the same occupations here, but we worked hard to come to the USA and to accomplish what we have. But I feel worthless sometimes and wonder why I keep doing this. After reading your note, I felt that I was worth something after all! Thank you for taking time to write to all of us.”
I was shocked at the intensity of her feelings -- but so grateful that God let me see firsthand how much encouragement is needed and how it does not take a lot of effort to show appreciation to people. I was humbled to be used by God to lift the spirits of these special ladies!
Death and life are in the power of the tongue.
Therefore encourage one another and build each other up.
1 Thessalonians 5:11