There is a moment, or choice, or period in our lives of which we are not proud. In fact, for many it may still haunt them. Remember yours yet? I am sure it was not hard to recall. Our memories are fine-tuned machines that can, at the speed of light, send images and thoughts to our minds. A chill runs down your spine. Sweat breaks out on your brow. Sadness or hopelessness creeps in. We live lives filled with regret and powerless, it seems, to do anything about it.
How will we ever find the strength to carry on?
Baxter, from Downton Abbey, obviously has something in her past she cannot shake. Barrow knows this secret and is holding it over her head. Over this season we have watched as her discomfort as risen. Molesley recognizes the situation and begins to talk with Baxter. While Barrow is away, Molesley steps in to help Baxter. When Barrow returns, a new relationship of encouragement and friendship keep Barrow at arms’ length. In the finale of Season 4, Baxter and Molesley are sitting on the beach during a day off for the staff.
Baxter: I have to thank you Mr. Molesley.
Molesley: Why’s that?
Baxter: There are things in my past that have made me afraid. But…I am not afraid anymore. I am not sure what will happen but whatever it is, it’s better than being afraid. You’ve made me strong Mr. Molesley. You’re strength has made me strong.
Downton has done it again. Our spirits are raised and our ethic sharpened. Here’s my takeaway:
1. Be aware of those who surround you. There will be someone in your close proximity that needs encouragement. It is easy to become myopic to our own plight. So many of us have those regrets and live in fear of them surfacing. What if we could help one another overcome? Where does our help come from? Our help comes from the Lord. Sometimes, he uses us to be that help to someone else. Look around.
2. Take initiative. Step into a life with love and care. Express what you see as positives in them. Encourage them. We need someone to believe in us. Who has believed in you? I remember well those who have walked beside me in life speaking words of encouragement and propelling me forward. May we who have received also give away. With compassion, let us take the necessary steps to engage those around us.
3. Stay the course. How easy it is to do the first two and walk away thinking too highly of ourselves. Feeding a person once is different than teaching them how to feed themselves. The latter takes time. Our lives are busy, but rarely beneficial. God will lead you to a person not to give quips and quotes, but to quench their need for love and strength.
Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise. Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near. Hebrews 10:23-25