Do you remember Tiny Tim singing this song while strumming his ukulele? I don’t know about you, but there was something a little disturbing about watching him sing. His demeanor seemed to belie his words. Tiny Tim didn’t seem genuinely happy.I try to encourage others. This is based on Romans 12:8, and my belief that God has gifted me in this area. I don’t believe in false hope or saccharin sayings, but rather extending my hand to a person who is hurting. Hope in despair—hope for the future.
Some of my approach is borne from raising children, experiencing extended family illnesses and deaths, and my medical transcription career over the past few decades. Nothing humbles or puts one’s life into perspective more than sitting in a pediatric cardiology clinic (which I’ve done with both of my children), pediatric neurology clinic, speech/language pathology, occupational therapy, genetics clinic, cardio-thoracic surgery clinic, ER visits, or watching my husband perform CPR on my child, then riding in the back of an ambulance holding my child’s hand and praying he will live. Have I left anything out? Most certainly. I could tell you much about the anguish and heartache I’ve experienced over the years. I could tell you how in a three-year period, we lost eight people in our immediate family. Cancer, old age, suicide.But the bottom line is—so what?
Erase my problems and fill in the blanks with yours. I’ve typed hundreds of medical reports with far more ghastly, heart-breaking scenarios. I’ve sat in countless waiting rooms with my children in clinics and witnessed other kids with abnormalities they weren’t going to outgrow. Some eventually died, no doubt. I’ve listened to people share heartbreaking family situations. Then I’ve prayed for their problems. While I was at it, I prayed for strength to deal with my own.Despite what curve balls life throws me, what right do I have to do anything but encourage others from my experiences? God gave me an incredible gift when He chose compassion. I’m not going to fall apart on you, even if my heart is breaking. I’m not going to sugar-coat your problems or my response. In fact, I may give you some tough love. But when you read the verse following the one on encouragement, Romans 12:9, says, “Love must be sincere.”
I hope when you visit my blog or share your problems through e-mail that you will find sincerity. Regardless of how upbeat I try to be, problems visit me regularly. But that doesn’t mean my heart isn’t big enough for yours, too.As for Tiny Tim, apparently he had his own heart problems. He died doing what he’ll be remembered for most—singing and playing his ukulele in front of an audience...tiptoe through the tulips with me.