“Anxiety in the heart of a man weighs it down, but a good word makes him glad.”
Rebecca hung her head and swung her pink and yellow backpack into the backseat of the car.
“Hey, honey,” her mom said. “How was your day.”
“Ummit doesn’t sound like you’re fine.” Mom twisted in the front seat and leveled her blue-eyed gaze on her daughter. Rebecca’s matching blue eyes swept side-to-side, avoiding her mother’s gaze.
“I’m fine, Mom.”
“Okay, if you say so.” Mom dropped the subject, flipped on her blinker and merged into crawling traffic in front of Crooked Creek Middle School.
The moment they got home, Rebecca scurried upstairs to her own room and shut the door a little too loudly. Her five-year-old brother, Brad, glanced up from where he lay on the living room floor, taunting the cat. “What’s her problem?” he asked.
Mom shrugged and dropped the mail on the kitchen counter. “She won’t tell me, but I’m sure she’ll be okay after bit. She just had a bad day.”
Brad rolled back onto his belly. A few minutes later, he scrambled to his feet with a purpose, pulled on his blue baseball cap and ran out the door. Mom looked after him. “I wonder what he’s up to?” she thought.
Mom didn’t see Brad again for almost half-an-hour. Then, she caught him sneaking in the side door on tiptoes, but his squeaky tennis shoes gave him away. He grinned sheepishly when she spotted him.
“They’re for Rebecca,” he said and thrust a tangled bunch of purple wildflowers toward her. “Can you help me put them in some water?”
Rebecca her a soft tap on her door. “Please just go away,” she mumbled into her pillow. “I don’t want to talk about it.”
“You don’t have to,” came a small voice, usually the same voice that she found annoying. But this time Brad’s tone was pleading, almost a whisper.
Rebecca pulled open the door. With one hand on her hip, she glared at Brad. “What do you want?”
Gathering all his courage in the face of her irritation, Brad pulled the flowers from behind his back.
“You seemed sad,” he said. “And I just wanted to cheer you up with some flowers. And I wanted to tell you that you’re the best, prettiest, smartest big sister in the whole world!”
Rebecca’s cheeks were streaked with tears; she had tried to brush them away when she opened the door, but suddenly her eyes filled up again. She sank down on her knees and gave Brad a big hug.
“Oh thank you,” she said. “You have no idea how much I needed that.”
When she pulled away, Rebecca broke into a grin. “You know, I don’t even remember why I was sad!” she laughed a little. “In fact, I feel so happy, I’d like to go kick the soccer ball around in the front yard. Do you want to play with me?”
Who can you encourage with a good word today?