I received a phone call this past week from a young man who got my name and number from someone he called a mutual friend.
He asked if I remembered his mother, whom years ago I helped get into a drug rehabilitation program in Chicago.
I didn't remember the name, but over the years I had helped so many young men and women get into Christian rehabilitation programs that it is hard to remember all of them.
He then asked me if I knew his biological father. He mentioned the name and said that I had helped him also.
He was trying to find this man that he didn't know and that he didn't know much about. Sadly, I wasn't able to be of much help to this young man.
I gave him the name of a ministry that I knew of, and I told him how to contact someone there. Maybe they would know his father.
It's bothered me as I've thought about it that I didn't remember these people. I sure would have liked to help someone make a connection with a family member like that.
We go through life meeting people all along the way, and so many times we make an impact on someone; hopefully a positive impact, one that can change their life for the better.
That's what stood out to this young man. I had touched his family years ago, and he wanted to put all the pieces together.
We didn't talk long, and I failed to get his name and a call back number. I would like to know if he ever found who he was looking for.
As I look back over the years of my ministry across the country in various cities and states it's hard to remember the names of all those I've come in contact with. I wish I had that kind of memory.
I can remember those who have had an impact on me, though. The people who touched my life in some way, those who helped me, those who were especially kind to me, I remember them. And I remember many of those people who weren't so kind.
I may not remember all those who I helped along the way, but I remember so many of those who helped me.
I remember a little woman named Grandma Roycey. She was a faithful member of the church I attended in Colorado when I was in Bible College. She was always kneeling at the altar in prayer when I arrived at church for the services. She would get there early and pray before the services started.
I admired her from the minute I first saw her, and what a treasure she was when I got to know her a little bit. She was a faithful woman of prayer, and her example touched my life.
She has long ago passed away, but I would have liked to have contacted her some time and told her thanks for setting such a fine example for this young ministerial student.
She may not have remembered me, but that's okay. I remember her because she touched my life. She taught me the importance of prayer.
I want to live the rest of my life making a difference in other people's lives. I want to live a life of meaning. I think most of us do.
I may not remember the mother of that young man who called me this past week, but she remembered me. She remembered how I helped her at an important time in her life. And she thought I might be able to help her son make a connection.
I will try to live my life so that others will see the good in me and want that for themselves. That's how Grandma Roycey was. I wanted that something special that she had.
I may not remember everyone I come in contact with, but I hope people will remember the good in me.
-- Doug Dezotell is pastor of Mount Lebanon United Methodist Church, a former staff writer for the Times-Gazette, a husband, father and grandfather, and a friend to many. Doug may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.