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The phone rang.
I checked my Caller ID. I didn’t recognize the name.
I thought twice about answering the phone, and then, I did.
I told the caller, “I don’t know you.”
He said, “But I know you. I read your article on Champions. Tell your grandsons if they get knocked down to the ground, tell them to look up and tell their opponents, ‘Give me your best. Your worse is not good enough.’”
Of course, that piqued my interest, since we are all so full of ourselves.
I continued talking: “How do I know you?”
“You know my mother. She lives in Pagosa.” He told me her name.
“I know her. She is a beautiful mother and woman.”
He continued. “I’m a veteran and an alcoholic. I got out early from the Special Forces, with an honorable discharge. I have killed and I have seen killings. I was once a champion and a leader. Leaders do not die easily; neither do champions. I know.
“I’ve been drinking and thinking. Though you are slammed to the ground, and your tears are mingled with your own blood, your tears become your strength. It’s not about you, but the ones that are counting on you. Your tears give you strength.”
I was compelled to listen to this broken man. I couldn’t hang up the phone.
I had to make room in my heart for him. He wanted me to know he still had life and hope in him.
I immediately thought of him serving our country. He saw things people shouldn’t have to see, and he dealt with it the only way he knew how.
His mother and family have cried many tears for this beautiful soul. A mother will always be a mother, no matter if her son is fifty-nine years old, and is her heartbreak. Because of what he has been through, he understands how his tears have become his strength; but he can’t help his mother with her tears.
He continued talking. “For a long time, I wouldn’t lead people to victory any more, but for my family’s sake, I’m willing to do it. I’ve caused a lot of pain. My family says I can’t stop, but if I admit to myself, ‘I can’t stop,’ then I’m dead. I tell my family, ‘Don’t make the same mistakes I have.’ But, they don’t listen.”
This phone call hit me between the eyes and pierced my heart.
My own thoughts ran through my mind during the phone conversation. Make room in your heart for those who are broken and bruised. Be willing to be pierced by a man who is crying out for understanding.
I think of Simeon, who waited his whole life to see His Messiah. He was told by the Holy Spirit he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ.
He took Mary’s child in his arms and blessed God. Then he said to Mary, Jesus’ mother, “Behold, this Child … Yes, a sword will pierce through your own soul also, that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”
My soul has been pierced by God’s messenger. He used a veteran who struggles with alcohol, who cared enough to call me and encourage my grandsons. Before, I probably would have walked passed him on the streets, and not given him the time of day.
Today, I embraced a mother’s son and felt her tears. I felt his tears, also.
I write this article to a mother who lives in Pagosa. “Your son pierced through my soul and revealed my heart. Don’t lose heart. God used him as a messenger today.”
To my special friends who support and read this column, I pray this Christmas Season your willingness to make room in your heart for God’s messenger.
Final brushstroke: God’s messengers do not always come neat and tidy. In fact, the True Messenger and Message came as a baby to a place where there was no room for him. And yet, He brought God’s tidings, “Peace on earth. Goodwill toward all men.”
“Every day is a messenger of God.” — Russian proverb.