I was going through a very rough time in life in my younger years while I was in the military. I ended up in the hospital on my death bed. Only two people knew, but no one knew how to reach me.
One day I get a phone call from my Uncle who was also prior military. So he understood the struggle. He was on the other side of the country, and he took the time out of his busy life to call me when I needed someone to talk to. He said the right words that encouraged my soul and eventually changed my life for the better.
When I returned home from the military, I couldn’t wait to visit with my Uncle to hug him and tell him thank you for the moment he took to call me. I wasn’t able to tell him thank you. Just a day before I came home, he passed. It broke my heart that I couldn’t repay him for that one word of encouragement that changed my life.
I didn’t know the Lord at that time, but I felt the words of my Uncle, so loving, forgiving, and encouraging me until I eventually came to know the Lord for myself. My Uncle never forced religion on anyone, he never played church, he stood firm in faith. The words he told me were in the scripture but I didn’t know it at the time.
The Lord used my Uncle to help me understand the love of Jesus. “In this world you will have trouble, but fear not, for I have overcome. You too will overcome.” This short phrase helped me know that what I was going through was tough, but it would help me to help others. Now I understand.
What my Uncle did that one day will be forever in my heart. Because of his words of encouragement, I live today. I now do the same to share a joke, a smile, and encouragement to everyone I meet. When I hear of anyone in need, or in a desperate situation, someone who is going through a hard time, someone who just needs a boost of encouragement, I remember to write a small note, go visit, or to call them. My mind always goes back to remembrance the day Uncle Bob gave me life through his words.
When I read certain books about someone who left an impact, I could relate to the feelings I felt, the words I needed to hear, the way someone didn’t give up on me when I gave up on myself.
Though there were many who helped me along the way, it was that one moment in time, with the right words that penetrated my hard heart, soothed a hurting soul, brought a glimpse of hope. Uncle Bob passed his baton to me to do the same for others as he did for me. No distance was too far, no words are too simple, no hurt too deep that a short visitation, a phone call, a voice, of truth cannot reach.
Sometimes writing the words, sharing this story helps me remember the valuable lesson of love, hope, and encouragement from all those who have gone before me. Even if there was just one who really touched my heart and life, they paved a way so that I can do the same. But I know there were many. May I never cease to show my gratitude and encourage others to share their story of hope.