Do you have a younger sibling at home? Have you ever observed an infant learning to turn over? How they struggle using their whole body – flailing limbs and all – just to turn over?
Or have you seen a toddler learning to take his first steps? How his whole body wobbles as he tries to carry his own weight on his tiny legs? It is such a mystery how we learn all these things on our own. We did not learn these things in school, neither did we learn them through instruction.
But do you ever notice the people around them when these events happen? How parents go crazy when their child learns to flip over? How they constantly encourage their toddler to try and try again, even with the risk of falling down, after they take that first step? How excited parents become when they see their child trying and struggling! Very often, words of encouragement and affirmation accompany these seemingly small feats.
I am not sure if you notice, but, as we grow older, we may tend to hear less of this. Less encouragement when, at your 30th, you try doing a 360 flip on a skateboard, or, at your 50th, you try doing an ollie… if you even made it that far. Less affirmation for getting a good grade on an exam for a subject you really don’t like, less encouragement and affirmation for being able to hold a wheelie for 3 grand seconds after a gazillion tries!! Hey, that’s a really long time… after so many tries.. Like, finally!
Isn’t it strange? As we grow older, we receive less encouragement and less affirmations. It almost seems as though encouragement and affirmations are only meant for kids, and we are expected to be able to persevere on our own when we face challenges and difficulties. No one seems to even take interest in the things we do sometimes.
But our Lord is always there with us. He is the one most perfect parent that is always, always, always there beside us. He was there cheering you on when nobody saw you doing that pirouette. He was there when nobody saw you give a smile to that homeless person along the street. He was there when nobody saw, or even noticed, you clean your room. He knows the sacrifice you made to save up some money to buy a present for your mom, dad and sibling. He knows, and He sees.
Often we forget that, in every moment and in whatever we do, all of Heaven is watching over us and cheering us on. Just imagine: a football stadium full of Saints, Choirs of Angels, and Holy Souls cheering you on. At the same time, however, there is also a football stadium of Devils in Hell, waiting and desiring for you to fail. Every decision you make will determine which side will cheer on for you louder, and louder.
Even when you fail and made a mistake, after you receive the sacrament of penance there is a great celebration in Heaven – you have no idea!
“The Lord your God is in your midst, a warrior who gives victory; he will rejoice over you with gladness, he will renew you in his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.” – Zep 3: 17 (RSVCE)
God is crazy about us, He will never abandon us. He always encourages us – if we would only listen to Him!
The next time you see someone struggling, downcast, or just about to give up, remember the stadium of Angels and Demons cheering you on… and go give that person a boost, a word of encouragement, an affirmation, a smile.
- By Stephanie Chia