Words that Ignite the Soul

I started my weekend with my mind made up: I was going to stay closed off and not let these
strangers enter into my world, let alone my heart. Four hours and 32 minutes was the
estimated time my GPS said I had to be in the van with these strangers. I put my headphones in
and pretended that I was deep into my work.
I was headed to New York City to say goodbye to a sister I never had a chance to say “hello” to,
and to visit yet another sister who was scheduled for surgery. All around me was chatter of
current family news and reminiscing about family members and memories that drew everyone
in the van together, while pushing me, the one not raised with everyone else, farther away.
Soon we were back where we were all connected, New York City, where parents I don’t
remember lived out their lives. I wasn’t sure if I was ready for what was ahead, but I had to do
the right thing, because it was the right thing to do. So there I stood, surrounded by owners of
faces that resembled mine, and history that reminded me we were strangers. I could not
understand God’s reasons for allowing the events in my life to unfold this way. My siblings and
I were said goodbye to our sister who was in recovery, walking through the halls of the hospital
where another sister took her last breath less than a week beforehand.
I had so many negative thoughts flooding my mind. I convinced myself that I was next; after all,
I suffered from the same things they did. I think I must have asked God a thousand “why”
questions. As we waited for the garage attendant to retrieve our van, I stood alone – this time
not because I wanted to separate myself, but because I needed a minute to adjust my thoughts.
A darkness was starting to consume me and I felt like I was drowning. As I stood there sinking
deeper into this darkness, a parking attendant came to me and asked if I was a believer. He said
that there was just something about me and he just knew that I was a believer. Here I was
consumed with self-pity and a darkness that was swallowing me, but somehow my light was
still flickering.
As the parking attendant talked, his words were kind, affirming and uplifting. I felt all I had was
a flicker, but the more this angel spoke, I felt my “flicker” getting larger. His kind words and his
reminder of God’s promises ignited my soul. This stranger, my brother in Christ, used words
that affirmed God’s love for me, and those words changed my day and how I was feeling. Not
only did they change the course of my day, but they will forever be a reminder of my
responsibility as a believer and the words I choose to use. This stranger, that I call my angel, did
not know what he was doing, but his words made a difference in my life.
Our words can start a war or create peace, it’s totally up to us. I want my words to produce in
others what the garage attendant’s words did for me. My prayer is that my words will never be
the source of pain or hurt in someone’s life, that they will be true and used without flattery, ill
will or with the intent for selfish gain. I want my words to always glorify the One that I confess
with my mouth. What about you?

David Leonard