Words Long Forgotten

It was tucked away in the corner of the top drawer in his dresser. There, mixed in with copies of old utility bills, some newspaper clippings and greeting cards that must have touched his heart, was a small index card file. Not the plastic kind you can find in any discount store. This was one of those old gray metal boxes, well worn, scratched and a little rusty around the hinges.

Taped to the top of the box was a hand torn piece of paper that had become faded and dirty through many years of handling.

On it was written, "Words long forgotten."

Jim was a simple man. He had a kind, gentle way about him that almost made him blend in to the world. He might even appear as a blur to some as the world rushed by him. He had been a teacher in his early years and from birth to death never ventured far from what he called home. But that was alright with Jim. He never really wanted more than that. So I would suggest to you that he was a very happy man.

Except for one thing. He never married. He never had a family. He wanted one so badly. But if you ask him why, he'd tell you, "I'd meet a young lady I liked very much, but I could never find the words to tell her."

Words became his passion and his downfall.

You see, Jim wasn't very talkative. I tried many times to stir up a conversation with him and most of it was one sided. I'd speak and Jim would listen. He'd scratch his head and shake it in agreement, but hardly ever had an opinion about anything.

But he always took notes. Yes, Jim never went any where with out his note book. If you asked him what he was writing he'd reply, "Oh, just words."

It had been quite some time since I had seen Jim. In fact, it was years. When I saw the obituary a few days ago I was saddened by the fact that I hadn't stayed in touch with him. Even in his awkward, withdrawn world, he added depth to my own. I wish I had told him that.

After the funeral today a family member asked me to stop by Jim's apartment. He told me that they had found a letter addressed to me, with instructions that I was to receive it upon his passing. I felt undeserving of such a gesture, but agreed to be there at noon today.

Jim lived as simply as he acted. The one room efficiency was stock piled with all sorts of things that he had collected along his short path through life.

After being greeted at the door, I was told that there was a small box that went with the letter. They handed me the index card file, thanked me for coming and sent me on my way. As I was walking out the doorway and down the long hall, I could hear them laughing and mocking Jim's collection of personal treasures.

"Keep those garbage bags coming Bill. I'm not saving any of this junk," one person said.

"What about all these dictionaries? Why did he have so many dictionaries?"

"Dump them!"

His death was a loss to the world. The world just didn't know it. But the real tragedy in all this is that once they cleared his apartment out, there would not be a piece of Jim left.

That is except for the people he met and the words he left behind.

When I got out to my car I sat looking down at the old envelope. Scratched on the front was my name, address and phone number. Written off to the side was a note: "Please make sure he gets this and the card file in the top drawer of my dresser. Jim"

I placed the file on the seat next to me and carefully opened the envelope. Inside I found a handwritten letter addressed to me.

Dear Bob,

"I hope that this has found its way into your hands. I know it has been years since we last saw each other, but I wanted you to know that I always treasured you as a friend. I was never much of a talker, I know. But God has a purpose for everyone. So you talked and I listened. In fact, in recent years I found myself listening more but enjoying it less.

Because I never spoke up for what I wanted, what I felt, I let some incredible opportunities slip through my fingers. I let love pass me by.

I often joked that I just couldn't find the right words.

Well Bob, I have spent the last few years making up for it. I may not have had much to say but I listened and in doing so I discovered my purpose in life.

That's where you come in.

The world is suffering, Bob. We have forgotten what life is all about.

I always looked at my shyness and inability to express myself as a terrible burden, a curse. But as in all things what one lacks, one also has abundance in others.

Simply put, I was a great listener. I have listened to a world that is in pain. I have been sickened by the attitude of so many as they have accepted a lower standard of life and they call it progress. Our morals are at an all time low and our children are a product of those standards.

In the file box marked, "Words Long Forgotten," is the answer to saving the world.

You are a speaker and a writer. You and thousands in your profession have the ability to change the direction of the world before it's too late.

No, there's no secret formula or magic cure in that box. But it holds the mightiest of all powers. I have discovered what has been missing in recent decades and call upon you to return them back into the world where they belong.

I lost so much because I couldn't find the right words.

Bob, I've found them. I pass them along to you and beg you to use them wisely.

Thanks my friend. As you always say..."I believe in you!"


Picking up the box, I opened it and found several well worn index cards held together by a rubber band. The top card said, "The last words of a moral society! Words long forgotten"

Each card that followed had one single word written on it.

"Trust" "Faith" "Honesty" "Love" "Commitment" "Truth" "God" "Forever" "Duty" "Respect" "Value" "Reason" "Virtue" "Peace" "Kindness" "Hope" "Goodness" "Purity" "Justice" "Bravery" "Excellence" "Merit" "Unity" "Sacrifice" "Civility" "Humility" "Grace" "Patriotism" "Mercy" "Compassion" "Character" "Morality" "Responsibility" "Valor" "Innocence" "Integrity" and "Sensibility"

Jim was right. They held the mightiest power and the ability to save the world.

I will keep my promise to bring them back into the world, Jim.

"You have my word on it!"

Bob Perks Bob@BobPerks.com

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