He sat upright at the dining table.  His eyes were bright and his smile – beautiful.  93 years old.  A family physician for 51 years.  51 years.  Can you imagine?  He delivered more babies, made more home visits, and did more surgical procedures than I will ever complete. 

“Tell me something you remember about me.”  He asked me as we sat together.  His question was the result of the battle he fights with dementia.

                “I remember the day that you brought a special letter to the program,” I shared.  “You had a patient that was very unhappy about a clinical outcome and you wrote a letter reminding the patient of all the years of challenges that you had come through together.  You told her that she was always welcome to your clinic whether or not she sued you over the unwelcome outcome.  The patient dropped the lawsuit and continued to be your patient.  The letter that you kept all those years was a source of inspiration for me and for the residents.  You taught us how to love the tough ones.”

His eyes welled up.   Tears spilled over and ran down his leathery cheeks.  “I remember that.”  He wiped his eyes, “Forgive me for being a baby.  These are happy tears.”

                “Therefore, encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” 2 Th 5:11

He needed to be reminded that his life was not a purposeless waste of time.  He needed to know that the Living God had worked through him to touch lives.  He needed to taste the deep, rich, healing encouragement of the Holy Spirit. 
                Do we know the people around us enough to share their story?  Their testimony?

                “They overcame satan by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony.”  Rev 12:11

Perhaps it is time for me to listen more to the people around me and to get to know their stories; to store them up for use in the spiritual arsenal for future battles.

                Onward, Christian soldiers!