Compliments

Doesn’t it just make your day when someone takes the time to offer/give you a genuine compliment? I have found it can change the whole course of my day. Often times the magnitude of the compliment is dependent on who is giving it. A long time ago…. I learned an important lesson from a mentor, Gail Sanders, who recently passed away. She offered this advice, “Sherry, when it is in your power to act….why not act?” She was right.

We were in a discussion about people and finding the good in others. She said if you look with the intention of finding the good, often times you will find it. If you are secure in who you are in Christ and the gifts He has bestowed upon you, then why wouldn’t you give a compliment? She pointed out people who don’t find the good in others usually are not comfortable in their own skin. They somehow feel lesser than or they are selfish and self-absorbed. I can honestly say…she challenged me in many ways, but she made me stop and think long and hard about her words.

Over the course of the Front 9 of my life, there were several years Gail and Rita spent grooming me to prepare for my lifelong dream of pursuing the title of Miss America. More than that, they taught me life lessons that have served me well for years. I want to instill these lessons in our kids and in others. In that question Gail basically challenged me to live Proverbs 3:27, “Do not withhold good from those who deserve it, when it is in your power to act.” Gail encouraged me to act for the good–we all have the power to act but very few of us do!

Recently, after learning about her sudden horrific and consuming diagnosis of cancer and imminent death…I had the opportunity to visit her while she was in much pain, but lucid enough to “live what she taught me!” I walked into her room where she was sleeping. After sitting there for a while watching her sleep, her nurse encouraged me to wake her up. She assured me she would go back to sleep. So I did….it took a minute but she finally opened her eyes….even in her pain…I could see her eyes brighten when she saw me…..:)) A gift to me for sure, but of course she said….”There is one of the most beautiful Miss South Carolina’s ever.” In her great pain and horrific circumstances….she found the good and mustered the power to act….to give a sincere and meaningful comment. It made me cry….thoughts rushed over me and the hair on my arms stood on end….Gail was living a value she had taught me years ago even while she was facing death……she did not withhold good when it was in her power to act. Weak and struggling, she ACTED!

Today, I would like to honor Gail Sanders by sharing the valuable life lesson and proverb I watched her live for as long as I knew her, even on her death bed. She lived out loud: there is good and bad in everyone…..look for the good….compliments are easy to give and cost us very little…when we see the positive, the good and the beautiful…..Act–when it is in your power to act.

She proved to me……that even in pain, extreme pain, and devastating personal circumstances….we can all choose to act. I will never forget all that Gail gave to me and the life lessons she sought to teach me. I am forever grateful for the time that people gave to me to impart wisdom through their own experience!

Proverbs 25:11, “Like apples of gold in silver setting is a word spoken in right circumstances.”

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