THREE LITTLE WORDS

THREE LITTLE WORDS

“Oh what I’d give for that wonderful phrase

To hear those three little words

…Which simply mean I love you.”

This sweet song was recorded by Bing Crosby and the Rhythm Boys with Duke Ellington’s orchestra in 1930—nearly ninety years ago, and these Three Little Words never grow old.  In fact, the words, I LOVE YOU, when sincerely expressed, are, I believe, the most powerful, meaningful words ever spoken by the human tongue.

Retiring from full-time ministry, nine years ago, was, to say the least, an extremely traumatic experience.  Transitioning from pulpit to pew was a lonely, sad time for me.

To acerbate the situation I relocated, after forty years, to my old home town and to a church where I knew no one, and no one knew me.  

I couldn’t stand the loneliness so, being the gal that I am, I quickly became involved.  It took time, but over these nine years, I have been accepted by a wonderful group of people, whom I have grown to love.  Many in this group have known each other for ninety years, so, much of the time, I still feel like the interloper—the new kid on the block.

There is one beautiful woman in the group who intimidates me a bit.  I am sure this is not intended, and that she is totally unaware. It is my own sense of insecurity that fuels the feeling.

A couple of weeks ago, a group of us were chatting waiting for time to go to lunch.  I don’t remember the gist of the conversation, but in the act of introducing me to someone, this woman put her arm around me, gave me a squeeze and said to the group, “Faye is the life of the party, and we love her.”

I’m certain no one else remembers that conversation, but it was a “red letter” day for me—one that I cannot forget.  Those unexpected words, from that particular person, warmed my heart and made me feel like I belonged.  

“I love you! We love you!”  Do we have any idea the effect these words, and other words of kindness, have upon those to whom they are spoken?

Words are not simply sounds caused by air passing through the larynx.  Unimaginable power lies in our words. God spoke the worlds into existence by the power of His word.  (Hebrews 11:3)  Words reveal our innermost thoughts and the way we view ourselves and others.

Remember our childhood rhetoric—“Sticks and Stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me?”

Nothing was ever farther from the truth!  I was a fat little girl in grade school, and grade school children can be mean little monsters.  I went home in tears more than one day.

Someone has said that “Words are singularly the most powerful force available to humanity.”  Words have energy and power with the ability to help or to hinder, to humiliate or to elevate, to hurt or to heal, to humble or to glorify.  Words can stir up the creative juices in the mind of men. Words can wring tears from the meanest of persons. Words can encourage or destroy sometimes leaving damage that lasts a lifetime.

I read the other day that words are the leading cause of death and dismemberment in global societies, and have been since the beginning of time.  Words are usually the cause of teenage suicide. We’ve all heard the stories of bullying.

I don’t remember everything said during my wedding ceremony, but I do remember my brother, who was officiating, giving this word of counsel.  “Don’t ever say anything at the expense of your spouse.  That is pure meanness.”  I have tried so hard to live by that counsel.

We are careless and thoughtless so much of the time speaking barbed words, in the guise of fun, that wound rather than heal.  I am convinced that many of us need to take closer notice of the way we speak and the effect our words have upon others.

I quote from Jodi Picault.  “Words are like eggs dropped from a great height.  You can no more call them back than ignore the mess they make when they fall.”

King Solomon wrote some very sobering words in Proverbs 18:21.  “Death and life are in the power of the tongue…”  This truth should give us pause to think.

James 3:2 and 8, “…we all stumble in many things.  If anyone does not stumble in words, he is a perfect man…But no man can tame the tongue.  It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.”

  Psalm 19:14 is my prayer today. “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer.”

If my words please Him, my words will bless you!

Three little words!  “I Love you,” or “Jesus love you!”  Who in your realm of contact needs to hear these words today?

 

REMEMBER, THE SUN WILL COME OUT TOMORROW!

 

THE BEST OF FRIENDS

THE BEST OF FRIENDS

The Jones girls and I have been friends for seventy-five years, a quarter of a century.  Think about it!  I received calls from both of them this past week—one from Oklahoma City and the other from Salinas, California.  Those calls started me thinking about friendship and what a true friend really is.

I remembered a song from the show, “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.”  It says:

“A kiss on the hand may be quite continental,

But diamonds are a girl’s best friend…

Men grow cold, as girls grow old,

And we all lose our charm in the end.

But square-cut or pear-shaped

These rocks don’t lose their shape.

Diamonds are a girl’s best friend.

 

I have never owned a lot of diamonds, but I suppose if I had an endless supply, I could purchase the things needed for a comfortable life.  Alas, not even the “Hope Diamond” can buy acceptance, warmth, companionship, and love—those qualities indispensable to true friendship.

Dogs are often referred to as “Man’s best friend.”  My brother inherited his dog from his granddaughter.  Lani grew up, got married, and left Snuggles behind.  I never believed my brother would become so engaged with a dog, but when he lost both his wife and daughter within a year of each other, he was terribly alone except for Snug.  This “gentleman pup,” as my brother calls him, was there.  He was there to listen, to offer a warm paw, and a companionship unlike any other.  He was something to love and care for, and a perfect sleeping buddy.  This sweet little creature, with an indomitable spirit, exuded a sense of warmth, loyalty, and kindness, regardless of my brother’s demeanor.  The reason we call dogs “man’s best friend” is simple.  Dogs allow us to be their best friend, and yet, that is not enough.  There is still something missing.

Only another human being can fit perfectly into that space existing in every person—that space labeled “best friend.”

I thought of the Jones Girls when I read this quote from C.S. Lewis.  He said:

“For a Christian, there are no chances.  A secret Master of Ceremonies has been at work.  Christ, who said to the disciples, “You have not chosen me, but I have chosen you,” can truly say to every group of Christian friends, “You have not chosen one another, but I have chosen you for one another.”  The friendship is not a reward for our discriminating and good taste in finding one another out.  It is the instrument by which God reveals to each of us the beauties of others.”

 

So meeting Patsy Ruth was not by chance.   God must have been involved when she showed up in my third-grade classroom so many years ago.  Her middle name was Ruth and my middle name was Ruth.  Don’t you know that was enough for two little girls to decide, “Our friendship was meant to be?”

Throughout our elementary years Pat and her older sister, Wanda, came and went.  I had no idea the Jones family were itinerated farm workers.  They followed the harvest from Texas to Arizona, to California and back again.  I didn’t know why they were gone, but when they came back, we came together again as though they were never absent.

I spent a lot of time with the Jones family.  Buck and Inez were like second parents.  When we were in high school, the family finally settled in Salinas, California.  Though we never lived close again, we did not lose each other.  The girls and I boarded Grey Hound buses and visited back and forth.  We went to college together.  I sang at their weddings and loved on their babies.  We grieved at our losses and celebrated our victories.  These days, we don’t get around as much as we used to, but we still keep in touch by phone, and I plan to live next door to them in heaven.

Friends come in all shapes and sizes.  A true friend really gets you.  They like you flaws and all.  They fight for you, respect you, include you, encourage you, need you, deserve you, and stand by you.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 tells us “It’s better to have a partner than go it alone.  Share the work, share the wealth. …if one falls the other helps…Two in bed warm each other.  Alone, you shiver all night.  By yourself you’re unprotected.  With a friend you can face the worst…”

The Jones girls walked into my life and said, “We’re here for you and proved it

So take your pick—diamonds, dogs, or someone like the Jones Girls, and if none of these work for you, Proverbs 18:24 assures us,

“… there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”

            That friend is Jesus.  Best friends sometimes fail, but He will never fail you.

When we come to the end of ourselves, God has just begun.  The song writer put it this way.

“His love has no limit.  His grace has no measure.

His power has no boundary known unto men.

For out of His infinite riches in Jesus,

He gives and gives and gives again.”

 

WHAT A FRIEND WE HAVE IN JESUS!

 

 

REMEMBER, THE SUN WILL COME OUT TOMORROW!