Wednesday, April 11, 2012

A Roxanne Volkert Moment: The Power of Our Words

It came out of the blue—a memory which had remained hidden for over 50 years.  It was a Roxanne Volkert moment.
Some background.  I was raised in a doctrinally rigid, emotionally frigid home and, as a child, felt very insecure and starving for affirmation.  As you can imagine, this led to some very poor choices on my part in my adult years, but I’ve learned and grown. God and I are still working on that insatiable need for affirmation.
 Recently, this memory surfaced and I was transported back in time to when I was a child. Maybe 6 years old.  I’m in church, standing by my mother and Roxanne Volkert approaches.  She was a beautiful woman, a wife and mother,  and through these 6 year old eyes she was a blond angel sent by God. She leans over and smiling at me says to my mother, “He’s such a beautiful boy.”  End of memory. End of any contact with Roxanne Volkert.  I have not seen her in 50 years.  This much I know—her words of affirmation were soaked up by my soul and psyche. Those few words she spoke about me were so powerful that 50 years later I am cherishing them and basking in their warmth.
This is a twofold testimony.  It attests to the powerful abilities of the mind to recall and store God-given experiences.  More importantly, it suggests that our words and actions have much more impact and influence than we realize.  I’m sure Roxanne Volkert was not on a mission to be charitable and reaching out to the down-trodden little Steve’s of the world.  She was simply expressing an affirmation.  She didn’t give it a second thought and surely would have no memory of that brief conversation. But, for me, those words constituted validation and blessing and have stuck with me for decades.
I encourage you to create memories.  You and I have no idea of the power of our everyday words, our acts of seemingly ordinary kindness.  Do not allow words to remain internalized--speak them.  If you get one of those “nudgings” act upon it.  You have no idea the blessing, the affirmation you may be imparting. 
I encourage you to create Roxanne Volkert moments in the lives of others.  You see, those moments last a lifetime. I know that to be true.


Lee said...

Yes, the words of affirmation are crucial: especially during the childhood years (and, really, beyond as you know).

I think that one of the keys is consistency. Consistent, truthful, encouragement through affirmation.

All the best to you and those you love this day,


Bongo said...

It's amazing how small words...moments or acts of affirmation change us... I have darkness in my life.. but I stand by my promise.. that whenever I pass someone in church... on the a store.. I will share a smile.. and maybe brighten their day just a bit.. and maybe they will smile and brighten someone else's day.....We can make a difference one person at a time..As always...

Martha J. M. Orlando said...

What a tender and beautiful memory! Yes, it is so crucial to affirm and encourage others on life's journey. I can only imagine what a struggle you had as a child and a young adult. So glad that your relationship with the Lord is an affirming one for you.

Mary Hudak-Collins said...

What a truly inspirational post Steve. Yes, we should all be more supportive with our words, even though we don't always realize the impact they will have on another person. It only takes a few seconds to mention a few good words to another that could change their life, or at least their outlook for that particular day, forever :)

Steve said...

Lee, thanks for reading my post. I appreciate your closing "blessing."

Martha,I'm glad, too! :>) Thanks.

Bongo, keep smiling. And may Light overcome the dark.

Mary, thank you for your kind words. you're absolutely right; it only takes a few seconds to possibly impact someone for a lifetime.