The Power of a Word

I received a note some weeks back that brought tears to my eyes. A person from a church I had served wrote, “I hope you know how much you are missed. I hope you know how much you did for us.” Off in retirement land, when I hadn’t felt like I’d done anything for anyone, I was touched by her simple words.

None of us really understand the power of words. We don’t realize what a note from us can mean to another person or how deeply a person can be touched by some small act of kindness, we have done. We don’t fully comprehend that God may well be using us to care for another person, by nudging us to write that note – to express those words.

I had a high school friend who moved away soon after we graduated. There were occasional letters between us. I knew where she was and something about her life, and she of mine. I was busy with a young and growing family and didn’t get around to answering her last letter. I would see it in a drawer whenever I went searching for something there. I put it off, thinking I would get to it later. Over and over the thought came to me that I needed to write her. Months passed that way. I reasoned that she was as busy with her life as I was with mine. I meant to send a letter, but a year and then another slipped away without my ever responding. I never thought about the urgency of time. In July of the year that I and my graduating class turned thirty-three, my friend died of cancer. I have wished hundreds of times that I had paid attention to the nudge that God was giving me.

I wish I could say that I always pay heed to God’s nudges these days. I am better than I once was about making the phone call, sending the note or slipping off an email, when a person comes to mind and stays there. I know now that God is telling me a person in my life needs someone to care . . . needs a reminder that he or she is loved.

I’m grateful for those moments when God has nudged another person to reach out to me. I’m often surprised by who that person is. But each time, I’m grateful that a person cares enough to let me know that I matter . . . to let me know they care.