I imagine a hanging sculpture of a golden apple suspended within an open silver frame in the shape of a globe, gleaming whenever the sun hits it just right.
The person who speaks just the right words at just the right time may never know the long lasting effect it has on the listener. I'd like to share a few words from others out of my history which had a lasting effect on me.
From babyhood through adulthood I was the proverbial "wallflower," always watching, but hardly ever participating. Some unexpected words from a teacher gave me courage to do something I would never have considered without them. He was preparing his students to sing for a school program. As he listened and guided us through the song, he said to me, "you have a pretty alto voice" in front of the whole group. I was surprised and embarrassed, but the words stuck with me. When I started high school, I joined the choir and even tried out for a part in a musical (which went to someone else.) Later on in life, busy with motherhood, another person, with no reason to say it, told me the same thing. I decided to try out for the church choir.
Sincere compliments can give a person courage to do more than that person thought possible.
Another comment made to me by someone who was a stranger to me stuck with me having a different effect. My husband had struck up a conversation with a man at church with me standing by his side. The man looked at me and said, "You just keep plodding along." I didn't know this person; as far as I know we had never seen each other before, and I did not know what to think. I did not reply. Was it meant as a criticism or a compliment? Or was it an observation by someone who just said whatever popped into his brain?
But still, his comment stayed with me. Whenever I was going through a really rough time in various times in my life, those words kept coming to me. You may think I'm crazy, but I believe God gave him those words for me because of the fruit of it in my life. I have a tendency to hide or run away from difficulties, but those words made me realize I could tough it out, persevere.
Those are only two out of my memories. Sometimes being silent is best, but the right words spoken sincerely can follow a person throughout life, continuing to have a positive effect long after the words are only memories. They can be as beautiful and lasting as a gold and silver sculpture.
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