People Will Never Forget…

The other day I was talking to one of my oldest and dearest friends. We were both agreeing that the older we have gotten the more we have been reflecting on our past. She and I were reminiscing about people who had profoundly impacted our teen years.

Our pastor had also challenged us recently from Romans 16, asking us who had influenced our lives and had we ever thanked them? Also, how would others describe us someday?

So much to think about!

Immediately a few folks came to my mind – each having deeply impacted my life. I think of all of them often, thanking the Lord always for their love toward me.

The furthest back in my memory is my 5th grade teacher, Miss Christ (rhymes with “wrist”). In 5th grade I spent a great deal of time in the hospital. Back in those days parents were not allowed to spend the night with their hospitalized kids, which actually was terrifying to this little girl. During my stays Miss Christ came to visit me. She is such a beautiful, kind, compassionate soul who spoke gently. Miss Christ also sent me a wicker basket overflowing with white daisies. To this day, daisies are my favorite flower and I’m guessing it’s because of her precious gift way back then.

I wrote to Miss Christ a few years ago to thank her. To my surprise, I received a letter back! She remembered who I was and even remembered visiting me in the hospital and my-oh-my I was so very tickled. Miss Christ had no idea how painful my home life was but her kindnesses to me at that time brought me such comfort and joy. And just think – daisies are still my favorite flower!

Another that stands out were the parents of my dear friend, Amy. Each time I would go to play or spend the night at Amy’s home, I always felt welcome.

One particular memory….I was at Amy’s house and we came downstairs and found Mr. & Mrs. Geis snuggled together sipping coffee and quietly talking. I remember thinking, “I want this some day.” That snapshot in my memory became my marriage role model.

Another time Mr. & Mrs. Geis were taking their family to a beautiful restaurant, The Old Red Mill, and they said they wanted me to come along. I was probably 10 and had never been to a fancy restaurant. Not only was I giddy but also very humbled to be invited – what a privilege.

In 6th grade my picture was in the paper for being the lead in the school play. (Trust me, this introvert did not sign up to be a lead, but the lead was in the hospital and the teacher thought I could memorize the lines in 2 days! I told her I didn’t think I could. She told me she knew I could. Ohhhh boy.) After the play, Amy’s dad happened to see the picture in the paper, cut it out, laminated it and mailed it to me. I was so touched that he would be so thoughtful. Mr. Geis went to be with the Lord several years ago, but Mrs. Geis came to my mom’s funeral and I told her what she and Mr. Geis meant to me. Such precious people.

A few years later, there was another couple who had a lasting impact on my life – Mr. & Mrs. Hetrick, our youth group leaders. The memories that were made with them are a delight to my soul. The crazy thing is that they had a large family, yet they poured their time into all of us at youth group each week and generously welcomed us rowdies into their home.

One of my most treasured memories which I have thought of thousands of times over the years was a bike hike the youth group went on. It was a 12 mile ride one way. I was probably in 8th grade. During the bike hike, Mr. Hetrick rode at the back with myself and another girl. Somewhere in there we began to sing as we rode and Mr. Hetrick joined right in, “In God’s green pastures feeding, by His cool waters lie…” Anyone else remember that song?

Growing up, my dad had never talked to me. Not even once do I recall him asking how my day at school was or anything else. And so growing up I longed for a dad to just talk to.

So as we rode along, after we sang for awhile Mr. Hetrick started asking me normal questions and we talked for many miles of the ride. I don’t remember what we talked about, but I remember how I felt like I was important enough to spend time talking with. That ride stands out as one of the very best memories of my teen years. I don’t remember being at the park at all, just the long ride with Mr. Hetrick.

Six years ago Dw and I were invited to Mr. Hetrick’s son’s birthday dinner. Mr. Hetrick was there and I was able to get a picture of us together. What a joy to see him again!

So what is my purpose in this post? Actually it’s two-fold.

(1) Who in your past do you need to thank or acknowledge for the influence they had on you? It struck me that three of my favorite memories and the people who gave me those memories did not include any huge monetary expenditure. What meant the most was that they invested their time in my life. They made me feel like I had value. Have you thanked the people of influence for their investment in your life? For the memories? For the blessing they were to you?

The old saying is so true:

People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.

Tell them how thankful you are for them!

2. Lastly, how will people remember you or me? This one is worth spending some time thinking about. Life is short. God’s word stands firm. “Love Him most and love others like we love ourselves”.

It’s that easy.

I thank my God upon every remembrance of you.

Philippians 1:3

8 thoughts on “People Will Never Forget…

  1. Thank you for this. I will have to wait until I get home to thank those who had an influence on my life. I have a long list. I have thanked Him, because He always provided someone when I needed them.

  2. One of the women who made a huge difference in my life was a woman named Phyllis. She was a family friend, but she allowed me to “mother” her babies and now, knowing I would never become a mom has meant a lot to me. She came to pick me up when I was in a car accident and my folks were out of town. She wrote letters to me when I was in college. Sadly, she suffers from Dementia which breaks my heart. Oh, what a sweet and kind lady she was to me!

    1. Aww Janelle, what precious memories of your friend Phyllis. I’m thankful for the memories she made with and for you. So hard when people suffer at the end. My dad had Alzheimer’s and didn’t know me for the last 3+ years of his life. It was really hard.

      Thank you for telling us about Phyllis. Hopefully one day you can tell her children what a difference their mom made in your life. People have done that with my mom…she had tremendous influence on so many and it has been so good for me to hear the stories. I wish they had told my mom, but this is so good for my soul.

    2. Thank you for calling me to act to let some special people in my life know what they mean/have meant to me. I pray I’m one of these people for others.

      Thank you for continuing to share.

  3. Linda! You were the biggest blast for us girls in youth group! I know you are not intending this to be about you but you certainly new how to find joy and create fun in your world with friends. I will always be thankful for Miss Earlene Voss the missionary nurse to Pakistan. I was just one little face in a sea of children listening to her stories when she came back to visit but I was eating up every word and a seed grew in my heart for children of other countries. This the adoption of 3 children from Africa!! I wrote her, also, much later in life and she became a pen pal and sent me a PRECIOUS book that she wrote called “What is in Your Hand?”💘
    My family loved having you over and isn’t God so good to give you an example of parents that were in love!!!❤️ I’ll never forget the bike trip and I think we went over the Grand Island bridge.
    By the time I road home it was 28 miles that day!!!! I remember that song and need to look up all the words!!!😊

    1. Aww friend – so many memories with you!! Youth group was such a blast! Loved Earlene Voss. I looked for her on the web recently. She also helped to fuel the flame for missions. And truy being at your home – The BEST! Tell your mama I wrote about your parents when you get a chance. And come visit me! I love you and I always miss you! Wish we were neighbors. xoxo

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