That Which Endures


That which endures

Written by ANDRÉE SEU


December 15, 10:01 AM

This morning as I was driving I happened to remember one sentence that a former neighbor said to me two decades ago. I forget the rest of the conversation except that she had mentioned with some discouragement that men tend to hit on her.

She was indeed beautiful of form and face, and I suppose I made a remark to that affect after her lament. It must be then that she responded to my comment, closing the subject, “That’s already passing away.”

As a matter of fact, Denise’ beauty showed no signs of passing when she spoke those words. But I remember that for some reason I was too struck to argue the point. I knew she was right on a deeper level. One year, 10 years, 30 years, what’s the difference? It’s the blink of an eye: “Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain” (Proverbs 31:30).

But my interest in this snippet of memory has nothing to do with beauty and its shelf life. It is the fact that the comment itself has stayed with me so long, when almost everything else about my neighbor has been lost in the slipstream of time. One is tempted to say, “So what. Memory is a quirky thing,” and that may be right; there may be no rhyme or reason as to why I have retained this detail. Still, my hunch is that there is more to it than that. I have noticed a certain immortality of particular kinds of words in my life—words that are true.

It is as if a certain power inhabits words that are in some way aligned with God’s truth. It is as if they are living, and their echo remains when windy words and banal exchanges have long burned off like dew in morning sun.

I am thinking that this is not as spooky a theory as it sounds, because God himself leaves hints throughout Scripture of the mysterious goings-on that swirl around “the word.” Jesus is “the Word,” and there is no fathoming Him; He will outlast it all. Moreover, listen to what Jesus says about His own words: “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life” (John 6:63). If anybody thinks he has that statement figured out, he is either mad or has been to the third heavens with the Apostle Paul. Something strange and supernatural is afoot.

I dare say that most of us, in conversation, blurt out the first thing that flits through our brains, words that are spoken today and forgotten tomorrow. I would merely like to encourage us in this column, that if we will take a little more time, and have a little boldness, we are all capable of speaking that other kind of word—the word that lasts.

It would be a wonderful thing if even today you or I would happen to say a word to our neighbor that is according to truth and not lies, that enhances his understanding of the universe in some small way, right on the spot—and that he will be repeating to someone else for his benefit two or three decades down the road.               




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