It’s true! Here comes a real personal and honest story. I’m not proud of this, but it happened. To me!
It was a normal day in my household. I had plenty to do. Places to go. People to see. Phone calls to make. Laundry to do. House to clean. Lessons to prepare. Dinner to think about. But I also had LOTS of text messages. emails, Facebook postings, blogs sites, and all kinds of socializing to do as well. Can anyone relate so far?
Just before I headed out the door to head toward an appointment (one that I must not be late to!), I thought I would take a few moments and check my “social media” sites, just in case someone had something important to say to ME! I was ready to “like,” to “love,” to “haha,” to “wow,” to “cry,” to be
“angry” or to “comment” to anything I read. I didn’t really have time to, but that is what’s expected, right? I admired pictures, laughed at a couple of funnies, but sorry, I will honestly admit that I bypassed anything in that moment that I had to read. I don’t have time to read you right now. I’ve got things to do. Can anyone relate?
Well, a few days prior to this, I had written two blog postings – “Hope in God” and “Did God Go Out to Lunch?” – both on the subject of having hope in God. I was happy with what I wrote and yet I wondered, “Would anyone read these articles?” I even encouraged friends on Facebook to visit my blog site and have a read. And yet I wondered, “Would anyone take the time to read these articles that I spent time thinking about and writing?” I hoped so, but right now I’ll just take a quick glance through the rest of these messages. Can anyone relate?
Someone did response!
A former student of mine, from years ago. I hadn’t heard from them for a very long time. Sadly in my haste, I brushed it aside. After all, I had things to do and places to go. Maybe I could send a quick emoji. But what? “Like.” “Love.” “HaHa.” “Wow.” How would I know which? In all honesty I hadn’t read their message to me. I was in a hurry. Didn’t have time. Had places to go and people to see. Can anyone relate?
I quickly skimmed through their message. It was too long. I didn’t really have time. Maybe later. Not now.
But then –
One word caught my eye! One simple word! And everything changed for me! What was that word?
SUICIDE! That got my attention. It literally screamed off the page at me. Then I took the time to read the entire message.
“Ms. Kathy, I just read your articles about hope in God. Hope? What’s that? I am writing to tell you that I have been hopeless for years now. It’s a long story and I don’t want to bore you with my life details. But I have been planning out my suicide for this afternoon. I had just finished writing my note to the family. But then, my computer started “pinging” – notifying me of a message received. I went to see who was interrupting my most important moment. It was you. But because I really like you and you taught me a lot over the years of knowing you, I took the time to read your message. Every word. I actually liked your message of hope. I cried at what I read. I am telling you now, Ms. Kathy, you helped to save my life this afternoon. I flushed the pills and called my counselor. I want God’s hope in my life again.”
No words! I have no words!
I sat and cried, sitting at my computer for the longest time. And yes, I missed my appointment. But that’s okay.
I feel very embarrassed and humbled right now!
What if, in my haste, I had just clicked the “like” icon? How awful, in my haste, I had “love”d it? Or simply said a passive “Wow!” Or, even worse, how horrible it would have been to have “ha ha” at that heartfelt message. In my haste, and in my utter stupidity, I nearly blew it!
I learned a very valuable lesson that day!
Can anyone relate?
And just so you know, I will read each and every text message, email, Facebook posting or blog that comes to my inbox. I will develop the habit of taking the time to read every word, no matter how long the message is. I will think twice before I automatically hit an emoji button out of convenience. I will respond to the person writing with dignity and thought. I will respect you, your opinions and your funny pictures. I will do that every time, because YOU matter to me!!
Kathy O’Brien is a dedicated follower of Jesus Christ with a passionate message for others to “Come Follow Jesus” with me. She has served as a missionary teacher in Edinburgh, Scotland and Liverpool, England. It was while in England she met and married her English sweetheart, Andrew. They currently reside in Tucson, Arizona, USA where they are team-teaching Chinese children. Kathy is the founder and director of Word of Truth Ministries. Within that ministry she offers (1) Free Bible correspondence lessons for children and teens, (2) Bible study groups for women and (3) mentoring and encouraging others who are walking the Christian life with her.