The other day, I posted regarding the all important atmosphere that exists in homes. (You can read it here.)
But what about the words that are exchanged every day in our conversations with family members, co-workers, people from our church, and others who we know in our communities? What kind of words and scenes are etched in our memories?
Sometimes, I am amazed at the things that I remember. The other night, I was watching a portion of a program on the History Channel about Martin Luther King Jr’s assassination. As I watched some of those old black and white news footages, I could recall sitting in den of our home in Dallas watching television. It was April 4, 1968 and I was fifteen years old. It was a Thursday evening. My mother had gone to the grocery store (the Safe-way store on Buckner Blvd. in Dallas) to buy groceries, as she did every Thursday evening. What I remember about that night is being glued to the television, watching those horrible scenes from Memphis. I can even remember my mother coming into our house carrying some groceries and telling her about the shooting of MLK Jr.
I don’t know exactly why I remember this in such detail. I just know this was a powerful moment and I had seen some pictures that I would not forget.
Each one of us also has scenes and moments with our family and friends etched in our memories. Perhaps you can remember some conversations that were painful, embarrassing, etc. Many of us have a few of those conversations in our memories.
However, I also remember some moments in which conversations took place that were particularly encouraging. For example,I recall these moments:
- Coach Hugh Campbell telling me as a junior in high school that I would have plenty of opportunities in my life to do things like buy a car, etc. but there were some things I would only have the opportunity to do once. That one statement proved to be very encouraging to me. Repeatedly, through the years, I have pondered regarding a situation or opportunity: "Is this a one time kind of thing or will I have other opportunities to do this?" The statement was encouraging in that it helped me in wrestling with various decisions. (Yes, there are numerous other factors to consider when making a decision. I am just talking about one statement that helped a fifteen year old boy.)
- Charlotte’s father, Charles Coil, who on one occasion, as I was wrestling with where to go to graduate school, said, "Jim, I really believe you can do most anything with your life. You may choose to go to medical school or law school. Or, you may choose to continue your education in the Bible." I was stunned by his words. I thought at first that he was saying such things just to build my confidence. Later on I realized that he really believed what he said. I was amazed at the confidence that he had in me.
- My wife Charlotte who has pointed out good things in my life and ministry all of our married life. My blunders and mistakes are all too apparent to me. Yet, she regularly points out most every good thing she sees about me. More than anyone else, she has been responsible for building my confidence.
This is just a sample of some people who have invested in my life in positive, encouraging ways through their words. Their words and their encouragement are in my memory and have had a powerful effect on my life.
As I think about this week, I want to make the most of the conversations that I have with people. Who knows how God will use an encouraging word? A simple conversation might be remembered for weeks and even years to come. Who knows the impact that an affirming, encouraging remark might have one someone? God just has a way of taking what might seem like an ordinary conversation and turning it into something that gives life and courage to someone.
What conversation do you recall that proved to be highly significant and encouraging?