Today, I was part of a group of leaders that spent some time honoring and celebrating someone for a lifetime of achievements. It was a very bittersweet moment. The man we honored is having some pretty severe health issues. He hasn’t been given an expiration date, but his health is not on the positive side of the spectrum. My fellow leaders knew we wanted to honor him in this way and we didn’t want it to be posthumously. We wanted him to know and understand how much we appreciate him and how much we recognize his lifetime of efforts. As I sat and watched, him surrounded by his peers, there was a joy in his eyes that was unmistakable. While a very sad moment to see this man dealing with such obvious health concerns, it was such a beautiful moment that I’m thankful I was able to experience.
You’ve probably heard the cliché that you never know what you’ve got until it’s gone. I have a love hate relationship with that statement. I believe you SHOULD know what you have. I believe that often time the reason you don’t know is because you’re not thankful and content. It’s our human nature to be unsatisfied. I’d say it’s worse for those of us in the good ole United States because of the American Dream that we all have bought into that we always have to have more, be achieving more, and all the stuff that goes along with it. I know that is often a struggle for me.
But what about people? Do you ever stop to be thankful for the people you have in your life? Or do you tend to only think about the people that annoy you or seem to want to make your life miserable? I’m going to guess that it’s the latter. And what a waste. You should learn to be content with the people God has put in your life. Good and bad. You can learn great things from not so great people. I think I wrote about that in another post… But, I’m not just talking about leaders and workers. I’m talking about everyone.
I am a deep feeling person. Some would say I’m extremely emotional. I won’t deny the fact that my feelings and emotions are closer to the surface than most. I call it passion. And when it comes to people, I’m extremely passionate about people feeling connected and valued. That inclination is getting stronger the older I get. I am never content and satisfied that the people around me are convinced of the value they bring to my life. I also don’t want them to forget it or think otherwise. I should be fully transparent and say here and now that I am sometimes the absolute worst at keeping in touch with people. But, when someone is on my mind randomly, I don’t hesitate to reach out even if I haven’t in a long time. I have often been surprised by the reaction and response I get when I do.
Today, during this celebration of a man’s lifetime of accomplishments, I heard it yet again. A few months ago, the moment I heard about this man’s health concerns, I made a phone call. I just wanted to check in with this man and see how he was doing since I knew he was struggling. I wanted him to know that someone cared. I have no doubt that he was surrounded by caring people. But something told me to call. And today, his wife came up to me during the celebration to express her gratitude for that call. She began to tell me how much that random, out of the blue call impacted her husband. She proceeded to explain that at that moment, he was particularly down and struggling. And after the call, he stopped and told his wife that he believed that my call was a way God was telling him that it was going to be ok. What a testimony!
I have experienced this often. Both as the person calling and the person being called. A few years ago, when I was in the midst of making a decision to leave my former church and step out in faith with a new one in an entirely different state, I got one of those phone calls. Someone I had poured into for a number of years decided to randomly call me out of the blue. He had no idea what was going on in my world. I mean, you don’t exactly broadcast something like that on social media. And, I hadn’t done a good job of keeping up with him one-on-one. But, I would like to believe he was responding to a nudging of the Holy Spirit to call me. I’m glad he did. He proceeded to dote accolades about how much my influence on his life meant to him. There was more that he said, but I don’t want to seem braggadocios. The point was that, as I was struggling with making a huge decision, he called. And the things he felt like he needed to say were exactly what I needed to hear to give me the confidence to take the step I needed to.
I would encourage you, wherever you are, no matter what season you’re in, make the call. Send the text. Write the email. Most importantly, no matter how you do it, encourage someone. Take a moment to tell them how much they mean to you. Tell them what they have meant to you and how they have impacted you. They need to hear it. And you may need to be the one to tell them. Don’t think that your words don’t matter. They do. They can be the lifeline that someone needs. They can also be the encouragement that someone needs to take the next step. You don’t know how much your words can mean to someone that needs to hear them at that exact moment.