The 2 Things You Never Forget

what are your intentions

The 2 Things You Never Forget

I had the awesome privilege of speaking at a Senior Club luncheon today.

I was contacted to speak, and we made all of the preparations and hurried over this morning, only to find out that they had canceled us.


But, since we were there, they decided to let us speak briefly.

10 minutes was all I told them I needed.

So, I sped through as much as I could.

The reason they canceled us was they decided to honor the Veterans in our area, one in particular, who is about to celebrate his 90th birthday.

I just can’t even tell what it meant to sit in that room and hear their stories. All still proud of what they did, all still honored to have done it, all still in love with this country.

I clung to every word, until…

There was one man who took the floor, a man of small stature, who told of his service in Hiroshima very, very briefly.

Then he said something that has forever changed me.

He said there are TWO things that you never forget.

The first thing is Deep Hunger.

He said, “I’m not talking about the hunger you get from missing a meal, I’m talking about deep hunger.”

I know this to be true.

Have you ever seen the face of someone praying for the Holy Ghost? I mean really praying?

I remember what that hunger felt like, that consuming hunger where I knew I would do anything to get it satisfied. It is the memory of that hunger that drives me today, keeps me pressing on.

I remember the extreme emptiness, the endless void waiting to be filled. I remember the gnawing inside, begging for something.

And I thought about these men, so young, so far away from home, in a country where they couldn’t even speak the language, obviously out of supplies, and seemingly out of hope.

So, they ate what they could find to appease that deep, deep hunger within.

Another man replied later, “When you truly get hungry, you would be surprised by what you can eat.”

I have seen people, hungry people, eating up whatever the world would feed them, denying where the real nourishment is found, they feed their souls the garbage lying around them until they cannot feel that hunger any longer, until the growling of need is appeased.

We have got to reach the hungry around us. We have got to convince them to “taste and see.”

The second thing he said is that you never forget is the smell of a decaying human body.

I began to think how God must feel when our very souls are decaying, and He smells the stench of our unrepented failure that is eating away at the very fiber of our beings.

I thought about how that decaying smell can permeate everything and cling to the walls of your nostrils making it impossible to smell anything else.

There have been times when I worked at the hospital when they would bring a body into the morgue that had been dead for quite some time. You could smell it long before you ever reached the door to the hospital.

I could see, in my mind’s eye, these young men who had left their friends and loved ones, young men who used to play football at school, and court young ladies. I could see young men who laughed and loved and lived to face such horror as the death that must have been all around them. I could see their innocence dying as they came upon body after decaying body. I could imagine them at night, trying to sleep with the smell of death all around them.

And then I thought of our own young people. I thought of their innocence, and I thought of the stench of the world that would like to permeate their being. I thought about the way it can get inside you so that it never leaves you. And even when they return to safety the memory of the stench never leaves.

This man was young when he arrived on these shores so far away. But over 50 years later, those memories are still strong. He has never forgotten his exposure to death, to real hunger, because they turned his young life around.

Oh, my sweet Lord, I know that sometimes we need to feel that deep hunger, but let it be for the things of You. Draw us Lord to Your table, feed us from Your Word, let that be all that satisfies us. Protect us, protect our young people, from the stench of this world, because this world brings nothing but death to our souls. But You, Lord, have overcome this world. I love You so.

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