Sun’s rays agree with readers on importance of affirmation

COFFEE WITH WARREN, with Warren Harbeck
Cochrane Eagle, August 30, 2018

The sun transforms Cochrane’s smoke-filled skies into a golden filter for its hope-filled rays reflected in the entrance to St. Mary’s Church. Photo by Warren Harbeck

Words of praise and gratitude are affirmations that truth, goodness and beauty are still alive and well in a difficult, often bewildering world. They’re like golden rays of sunlight that transform smoke-filled skies into agents of hope to cheer the heart.

Clearly, our readers feel the same way, if the many responses I’ve received to the past two columns are any indication.

Calgary coffee companion Tami Leigh, responding to our Aug. 16 column on how well-deserved compliments are Cups of Light for the soul, writes: “A lovely sharing of the virtues of love. Your cup shines and runs over for us all once again.”

Tami is especially concerned that there are parents out there who “never compliment nor acknowledge any successes or talents in their children for fear they would be spoiled or arrogant.” Her own perspective is to tell her children honestly how wonderful they are, “looking for the good in whatever they do.”

Cochrane spirituality coach and author Rob Low agrees. “I love this idea that you cannot be loved/praised too much,” he says; “only loved/praised wrongly.”

Last week’s column was my attempt at applying this virtue of praise by nominating Portofino Italian Ristorante Executive Chef Liam Dolan for the “No-Bell Prize for soups.” I noted especially how his culinary respect for my wife’s intolerance to bell peppers flows beautifully from his overall professional “desire to make a wholesome difference in the lives of people.”

Aero-space leader and community-builder Sandy McLeod, writing from Kaslo, BC, was full of praise for Liam.

“A hat off to the young man,” Sandy writes. “Human passion, a dedication to professional practice, passion for supporting people, passion for community, passion for what’s basically good for people, for friends, neighbours and family – well done, Liam; don’t stop. You’re a true young inspiration in a difficult world.”

Then there’s this response from longtime coffee companion, Leanne Forest, writing from Vancouver Island:

“I love reading your columns, as I feel personally encouraged to seek out new friends, new business people, new neighbours, and new kids here in our neck of the woods. What I receive back from them always ‘makes my day,’ especially as relates to kids.”

Her affirming example and that of our other respondents remind me of one of my favourite passages from the Bible, Philippians 4:8–9:

“Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things… and the God of peace will be with you.”

Well, just the other day, as I was standing inside the entrance to St. Mary’s Church while thinking about these responses in the light of that passage, the sun broke through the thick layer of smoke that has enveloped Cochrane recently and projected its golden rays through the window and onto the floor.

How affirming is that!


© 2018 Warren Harbeck

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