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“Encouraging each other” a reflection by Assistant Chaplain, Sarah

Wednesday 3 June 2020

Today’s thought is a short reflection called “Encouraging each other”.

Our key vision, mission and values at St Barnabas are three powerful words; caring, courageous and connected. Those three words as they pop up every time I start up the computer screen remind me of the importance of words and how they can a tremendous source of encouragement in our daily lives.

Our words are one of our most powerful things we have that can use both positively and negatively for impact. Often in adulthood we can recall words that have been spoken to us at an early age that have influenced us and shaped our character or future or sadly words that have damaged and hurt us.

It helps me to think of words being like bricks that can be used to build up others or being like bricks that can knock down or hurt.

At St Barnabas we have been encouraged in recent months by many things; the overwhelming generosity in response to the SOS appeal, messages of thanks, the weekly claps, treats that have been sent in for the staff to enjoy, by the response of many people in our local communities who have donated the knitted hearts appeal and also made beautiful cards to enable our patients to feel connected with loved ones.

We say a massive thank you, as this has greatly encouraged us doing our work and gives a wonderful boost to our patients.

Also, we are encouraged that we are beginning to see some relaxing of the government lockdown guidelines that gives us a small glimpse of the things beginning to return to some kind of normalcy giving us hope.

I love the meaning of the word encourage which is from Old French meaning to “make or put in strength or courage in someone’s heart.”

Kind words, a smile, an uplifting text or phone call; even a simple “well done” or gesture of appreciation can be like food or medicine changing somebody’s day to inspire them with confidence, uplift, give motivation, strength, support and help them feel strength to carry on.

In recent months encouragement has been especially important for us all, both staff and patients, as we have faced extra challenges and uncertainty. Those who have lost loved ones, those who are unwell, are grieving, those in self-isolation, our staff adapting to working from home and those working at the hospice with the challenges of PPE.

Let’s be inspired by our name sake St Barnabas whose name means “Son of Encouragement”. He was a remarkable man of character who helped to overcome, advance, give courage and hope to his companions by being an encouraging supporter.

I learnt a humble lesson about encouragement as a runner during the first London Marathon approaching the final mile as the route passes up Birdcage walk towards Buckingham Palace and then around the corner to the Finish line. Yes, I was one of those embarrassing runners I seen with wobbling legs that had no desire to take another step! It is at this point that the crowd is at its deepest and most noisy and the race suddenly becomes about the supporters not the runners. It was their encouragement and cheering that compelled and somehow fuelled me to complete the final distance.

I hope that we can all be that encourager today; not only to say those kind words, make that call, send that text or to do that act of kindness but also to receive encouragement. It is a catalyst that can propel each of us to be our best self, not to give up, to give courage, to inspire us all to reach our goals and overcome difficult days.

Please be assured that our Chaplaincy team are here for you and as ever we hold you in our thoughts and prayers.