We’ve all got stories
stories that need
but every story worth
someone who will
Have you seen the movie “The Wedding Singer”? Drew Barrymore’s character is named Julia, which I can identify with- because even though my name is Julie- my grandfather (and several other people) have always called me Julia! Well, my husband likes to joke that I’m the “funeral singer”. I have sung at many funerals and while it may sound strange, it has been one of the greatest blessings to be able to minister to families in this unique way.
I sang at a recent service, and when it was over, I gave my condolences to the family members. It was drizzly outside, and so I began to head up the hill to where my car was parked. I had several things to get done that afternoon and I was mentally going over my to-do list. I noticed an older gentlemen standing tall, nicely dressed, looking out over the cemetery. I felt the Lord nudge me to go talk to him. I walked up to him and stuck out my hand and introduced myself. He gave me the biggest smile and began talking about his family and sharing all sorts of stories about them. He was close to 80 years old, and his memory was impeccable.
As I stood there, the Lord impressed upon me how important it was for this gentleman to have my time-my full attention– and just how much he needed his story to be heard. Nothing I had to do was as important as giving this gentleman my listening ear in that moment.
He shared many stories, and at one point, I wondered if the stories would ever converge. After a few minutes, he told me that God has always been so good to him and that God’s grace had followed him all the days of his life, even before he was born- even in uniting his parents. As he continued to talk, I thought about how special it is to hear these stories and to realize that this complete stranger suddenly seemed like part of my “family”. And in that moment, I realized that we were “family”- both having the same Heavenly Father.
God reminded me that as a minister, being present and listening to others is one of the most valuable things we can do, and how sometimes He asks me to not say a word–
to just listen and shine His light.
My Christian brothers, you know everyone should listen much and speak little.