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The Power of Encouragement

Last month while dusting, I happened upon three beautiful hardbound volumes of plays by Eugene O’Neill in my husbands library. It was as if I’d stumbled upon a plate of red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting. I am completely taken in by O’Neill’s descriptive playwriting style, and while his plays portray sad, stark realism, I feel so much hope and encouragement after reading them (and hungry for more). 

Last week while I was working away on one of our rental units, I read Beyond the Horizon. On my lunch break and before I went to bed I read about the gradual decay of a successful family of farmers, and how one impulsive decision ruined the entire clan. I almost stopped reading because the girl, Ruth (who is nothing like the Ruth in scripture), drove me CRAZY. At first she seemed like a good sort of girl – energetic and handsome, but she also had an “underlying, stubborn fixity of purpose,” and ended up destroying the Mayo family in one fell swoop. 

As I read I realized, yet again, how important a woman’s words and actions are to her partner. A good woman can help her husband out of a difficult situation by bringing hope and encouragement to their lives. While a self-centered woman has the ability to suck all hope out of her mate until he succumbs to depression and utter ruin. 

After I finished reading Beyond the Horizon I wept bitterly. While I vacuumed I wept, while I painted walls I wept…a cord was struck in me. It was all so tragic. I found I couldn’t stop weeping really, until I told the entire story to my husband. As we discussed why it made me so sad, we walked down dark and foggy avenues in my mind and then magically, I felt better.

In the end, O’Neill’s story filled me with a renewed desire to work harder and to be more encouraging to people – especially my husband, because I find my words have as much power as my actions. 

I am so grateful to have a partner who loves to communicate. He not only listens, he helps me to discover myself on a daily basis. I never want to take that for granted.