By the Rev. Thomas M. Boles, PhD. DMin. D.D.
Author Kent Nerburn once took a train ride across Canada. On his journey, Nerburn encountered a man whom the other passengers avoided. This fellow was assumed to be a drunkard because of his slurred speech and unstable gait.
But Nerburn began a conversation with the man and soon learned he was recovering from a stroke. This man was once an engineer and operated trains along the very tracks that they were riding now. For the next several hours, he told Nerburn tales of the land they traveled through and legends of the people who once lived there. He also offered insight into some of the characters who worked for the railroad.
At the end of their conversation, the man thanked Nerburn for speaking with him. But it was Nerburn who was grateful for the experience.
Every day we make uninformed assessments of people and things in our environment, the accuracy of which we sometimes never discover. So the next time you’re faced with choosing between avoiding an exchange with someone or embracing it, think of Kent Nerburn, who says “Take a chance. Like people first, ask questions later. See if it doesn’t open the world to you in a new way. See if the light you shine on others isn’t reflected back on you a hundred-fold.”
If something comes to life in others
because of you, then you have
made an approach toward immortality.
And remember what I say; if people are informed,
they will do the right thing. It’s when they are
not informed that they become hostages