Sunday, November 11, 2007

Musings at 39: Memorable Quotes

Just passed the halfway mark to 40 this past week.

There are certain events in our lives that may seem insignificant to those around us, and even ourselves at the time, but they stick with us and somehow transform our lives. It's in those seeming inoccuous moments that our eyes open just a little more, and we make a decision that radically changes the direction of our lives.

Think about that for a moment. From the outside, that means that YOU might say something today, in your regular rambling diatribe, while shaking someone's hand, while speaking to your children or a friend, that will have an amazing impact on them and they will never forget it. You've already forgotten it. But THEY will replay that tape in their head, over and over again, and it could change their very view of the world, for better or worse.

I will always remember a church guy who took me aside after one of my earliest preaching gigs at a church in Dover. I had preached on integrity and told a story about my friend Anthony as an example, who was an honor-filled genuine friend (not perfect but real) who got saved a few years before a brain tumor got the best of him. Anyways, the church guy was rambling on about a storytelling clinic he'd been to, and tying in a story to a message, and yadda yadda yadda, and then got to the part where he just HAD to share, "And that's why your message didn't work for me."

I didn't preach for a year after that. It took me that long to pull myself back up.

On the other side of the equation, I will always remember my dad's words as he drove me to pick up my very first date at age 12 (believe it or not). He said to me, "I won't always be there there to tell you what to do or not do. But I will tell you this. Your mother and I waited until we were married, and we have never regretted it."

I abstained until I got married, based almost solely on those words.

We must make haste to be kind and impart true wisdom. We must hesitate and measure both motives and expected results when criticizing. Our words can crush or heal, halt progress or alter history. Right now I am doing a lot of soul-searching on my own, particularly about the unfortunate impact I may have had on people's lives, and the positive potential I still have. I am 39, and I don't want to waste a remaining moment or do any more damage. I only wish that this had dawned on me a couple decades earlier. But here it is, now, for the faithful reader of ye olde guy's blog, learn from me and may these words impact you.

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