Cisco was a bouncy white poodle with deep brown eyes and a little black button nose. He came to live with Darnell when he was a tiny pup. Darnell cuddled him in her lap and fed him from a baby bottle. As he grew, he became a favorite child, sleeping in Darnell’s bed each night and traveling with her wherever she went.
For nine years, Cisco was the picture of health, abounding with energy. And then, almost overnight, for no apparent reason, he changed. He became very lethargic and refused to eat. When Darnell’s husband, Dr. Wayne Adams, made a thorough examination with X-rays and blood tests, he found no significant health problems. Although Darnell continued to coax Cisco to eat his food he showed no improvement.
When it seemed obvious that Cisco was going to die, Darnell took her faithful friend into her lap to say good-bye. With tears, she said, “Cisco, you’ve been such a joy in my life.” Cisco settled in, crossed his little paws, and looked intently into his mistress’ eyes as she continued.
“It was always a thrill to see you run across the lawn, leaping like a hunter mare—always glad to see me when I came home. I hope you will forgive me for the times I ignored you or scolded and hurt you. You never held a grudge; you seemed to understand, and you always forgave me. I just can’t imagine life without you. Cisco, you’ve been a faithful friend. I love you so ...”
Cisco listened carefully with an expression that said, “I didn’t know you felt that way!” And then he jumped out of Darnell’s lap, ran to his feeding bowl, and ate his food with relish! Cisco lived seven more years—a healthy, happy dog.
Many of us are like Cisco, we respond to words. Lavish us with encouraging ones, and we’re sure to rise higher. Bombard us with negative, demeaning words, and we’re likely to believe what we hear and live accordingly.
Perhaps you heard the shocking story of the young girl who read humiliating words about herself on a computer screen and then took her own life. But did you hear about the man at the homeless shelter who planned to go lie down on the railroad track and end his life? Just in time, a minister came to him and spoke these words that gave him a reason to live: “God loves you. He has a good plan for your life.”
Joel Osteen reminds us: “Your children need to hear you say words such as, ‘I love you. I believe in you. There’s nobody else like you.’ They need to hear your approval.”
“Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind.” – Rudyard Kipling
Please contact Virginia Dawkins at firstname.lastname@example.org.