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Gentle Virtues


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07/01/2012 - Every year when I was a teenage volunteer at my hometown hospital, I reacquainted myself with Resusci-Annie. Every year she had the same tousled hairstyle, wore the same blue jogging suit and had the same great need of being revived.

Under the watchful eye of my hospital leader, I swabbed Annie's lips with rubbing alcohol, breathed into her and pumped her rubber chest. As a result, Annie was "revived" and I was recertified.

Maybe you have met Resusci-Annie and have revived her yourself. If not, you will meet someone who will need reviving. It may not be with CPR but with inspiration.

The word inspiration comes from the Latin root word "inspiro". It literally means "to breathe into". When we inspire others, we breathe life into them. We help them come alive and thrive.

Noah Webster, in the 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language, shows us two ways we can inspire. First of all we can inspire with ideas (def. 5 of inspire). Secondly we can inspire with courage (def. 2 of inspiring).

Ideas enliven the mind and provide a plan of action. Courage, gained through encouragement, enlivens the heart and provides the strength to accomplish that plan of action. Both revive a dream and a dreamer.

Do you know someone who could use some inspiring ideas and some timely encouragement? If so, inspire. Make a difference.

At the CPR training session, I also practiced the Heimlich maneuver.

Placing my arms around my classmate, I fisted my hands below her sternum and pretended to dislodge a piece of food which was "causing her to choke". Choking is a serious matter. It is not to be overlooked, is it? With that in mind, let us familiarize ourselves with the Latin root word "ango". Literally it means "to choke" and it is the root word for anger and anxiety.

Left unaddressed, anger and anxiety can be devastating. They can strangle our peace and joy, stifle our aspirations and destroy relationships.

Sometimes anger and anxiety are too difficult to dislodge on our own and we need help from a trusted friend. May we not be too proud to give or receive such help.

While it is human to experience anger and anxiety, it is unhealthy to live that way. And it is less than honorable to intentionally provoke those emotions in others. Dear community, may each of us live to inspire rather than live to choke. Let's care about each other's well-being.

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