Pushers and Pullers:

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Posted by TerryS ( on April 06, 2001 at 11:41:24:


One woman tells of a time her dog disappeared. After searching
diligently, she placed an ad in the local paper inquiring as to
whether the family pet had been found.

The following morning her phone rang and a weak, cracking voice
began, "I'm calling about your dog." Then the caller coughed and
cleared her voice a few times. She explained that she wasn't
feeling well and that, in fact, she had not felt well since her
husband's death three years ago. She went on to relate that her
parents, too, had passed away since then and her sister was
diagnosed with a fatal ailment. Even her friends, she continued,
were not doing well, and she gave details of their various
maladies and described the funerals of several of them.

After 30 minutes of listening, sympathizing and even trying
offers of help, the dog owner steered the conversation back to
the original subject. "About the dog," she began.

"Oh," the caller replied. "I don't have him. I just thought I'd
call to cheer you up."

Maybe her technique needed refining, but her intentions were
right on. And though "cheering up" may not be exactly what we
require, we certainly need encouragement -- pulling up -- at
times. A heart-felt word of encouragement will quench a spirit
parched by affliction as surely as a cup of cool water will
refresh a dry and thirsty throat.

The need for sincere encouragement is basic among human beings.
The Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C. displays the
personal effects found on President Abraham Lincoln the night he
was shot. They include a small handkerchief embroidered "A.
Lincoln," a pen knife, a spectacle case repaired with cotton
string, a Confederate five-dollar bill and a worn out newspaper
clipping extolling his accomplishments as president. The article
begins, "Abe Lincoln is one of the greatest statesmen of all

Why would one of the most highly regarded leaders of American
history carry around such a document? Did he not know his own
worth? The answer is found in the fact that Lincoln was not as
popular during his lifetime as he became after death. His
leadership was under constant fire, he was frequently an object
of ridicule in the press and bitter critics dissected his every
decision. He needed something to remind himself that, though
battered by the disappointments of life and scorned by those he
sought to lead, there were still also others who valued his
contribution. There were still those, perhaps not as vocal, who
believed in him. He, too, needed encouragement.

Do you need encouragement? There are those who will rally to
your side. Educator Booker T. Washington observed, "There are two
ways of exerting one's strength; one is pushing down, the other
is pulling up." There are people ready to pull you up when others
are pushing down. We need those people in our lives; those who
will exert their strength by pulling us up.

I believe these people can be found everywhere. I believe that we
can all become "pullers," lifting one another from dark pits of
discouragement to the light of hope. And when that happens, the
world will never be the same.

2001 Steve Goodier

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