I have found over my lifetime fascinating people who have come into my life. I remember having to go to a Christmas party with elderly people (I by the way am one of them now-a senior citizen- but don’t feel like one) that I would never ever come in contact with again. It was an obligation that I had to do and was dreading it. Have you ever had to do one of those things and hated it the whole time. Well it was one of those experiences that we were going to have to endure for 3+ hours.
It was drudgery but I tried to make the best of putting on my happy face and meeting people who I would never see again. I began to ask superficial questions of people and then move on. When it came to the third person, I changed my introductory question, and I asked him if he had ever served in World War II. My dad went onto Normandy beach D-day plus 2 and cleaned up the corpses lying on the beach. I had seen the movie Saving Private Ryan and became interested in World War II history. The man replied that he had so I asked him what was his responsibility. I was shocked at his answer. He said, “I was General George Patton’s personal tank driver.” I had also seen General Patton, and for the next three hours I was engrossed with his stories of his interactions with Patton and the dog. I could have stayed all night grilling him with questions that interested me. Some of the stories he had never shared with anyone and tears came to his eyes. He said that, “No-one had ever asked him these questions and talking about these things brought relief.”
There have been many communicative encounters that have happened to me as I have asked new people I come in contact with to tell me their story. Nadine and I interacted with one such person when Nadine happened to go in for a Doctor consult about some test results. As the prep assistant was taking her EKG and her blood pressure, I asked the assistant how long she had been doing her job and whether she loved her work. She responded by saying, “I am studying to be an English teacher because I love to write stories and create poems.” I asked her if she was publishing them anywhere so that others could read her poems and stories. She said no so I told her about my jlog that I am at this very second writing. She became really interested and got very encouraged to take steps to do the same. The encounter was only a few minutes, but I encouraged her on her path toward becoming a writer and poet that others could be encouraged by.
On this journey, we meet people daily that we could encourage if only we took the time to ask a few questions of their life story. Sometimes we can be the conduit to move them into passionate areas of their lives with just a nudge of affirmation and encouraging words. Be aware today that the person you run into may need that nudge.