Several years ago, Jeanne was at M. D. Anderson Hospital in Houston, undergoing treatment for breast cancer. This particular morning, she was being taken by wheelchair to yet another chemo treatment. Jeanne had lost all of her hair, she could not control her vomiting, or other bodily functions. Her face was swollen, and she remembers smelling bad. She says she was ugly and physically and emotionally bankrupt.
But as she was being wheeled to treatment that morning, an elderly man was walking down the hall, toward her. Even though she had never seen him before, she could tell he was a patient at M. D. Anderson, fighting his own battle with cancer.
As this man approached Jeanne, he stopped the wheelchair, knelt down beside her and gently put his arms around her. "Darling," he said, "I sure hope you're feeling better tomorrow."
Here was a man who was in a fight for his life, a man who probably needed a little encouragement himself. Yet he chose to look outside of himself, he looked past his own struggles and had compassion on a stranger.
Jeanne says that this man's gift of encouragement that day gave her the will to keep going, to get through not only that day, but to look to the future when she could pass the gift of encouragement to another person.
Never underestimate the value of a few encouraging words. They can make all the difference in a person’s day.