Thursday, December 18, 2008

Need a Lift? Become a Well-Wisher

I love this picture. It's a photo of my daughter, Elly, and our friend Tracy. In March 2005, Tracy had a seizure that damaged her brain. At first she could not walk or breathe on her own. Almost four years years later, Tracy walks but has difficulty dressing and remembering things. Tracy lives in an assisted living home and spends her days at an adult day care facility. We got connected through our church in the summer of 2005, after my daughter developed a seizure disorder. In the past three and a half years, our visits with Tracy have become an important and joyful part of our life. A recent conversation with my son helped me understand why.

When my son Sam goes to church with his dad, he always sits with the same woman—a middle school teacher who shares his love of cats and playing guitar. Last Sunday, they played guitar and sang with a group caroling at a nursing home. When Sam got home from church, I asked him about this connection. I wondered if he considered this woman to be a friend or a mentor. He answered without hesitation, "She's a well wisher." 

"What's a well-wisher?" I asked.

"Someone who wishes you no harm. Only good."

Wow. My surly tween had suddenly become a wise one again. (Most of the wisdom I know comes from my children and the young people I meet at Dream Keepers.)

Thanks to wise Sam, I realized that our relationship with Tracy brings much joy because we can be well-wishers for one another. Once when we were visiting Tracy, Elly tripped and fell. Tracy held out her arms and said, “Oh baby, oh baby. Are you okay?” As Tracy held Elly, I could see that the two were well-wishers for one another. We need and care for each other.  

You can guess that being a well-wisher makes the world a better place. Being a well-wisher also makes you more likely to be happier and mentally healthier.

On the day before Thanksgiving, we spent an hour with Tracy and her friends at the adult daycare center. We played Uno (Tracy won). Elly and Tracy helped each other decorate the Christmas tree. I noticed that Tracy smiles a lot when she is being Elly's well-wisher. Elly and I certainly feel happier after we spend time wishing Tracy well. 

The holiday season is a perfect time to become a well-wisher. How? Perform a deliberate act of kindness. Befriend someone just for the sake of wishing them well. Send a note to someone for the sole purpose of wishing them many blessings. See if it makes a difference in your life. I'll bet it does. 

If you end up getting work as a well-wisher this year, leave a comment here. I'd love to hear how it went—and if you feel happier!

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