November 27, 2013 | LXXIII, No. 35

Tears in a man's eyes

Jess Shut Up

Not too many years ago, I almost died. Literally. My wife called everyone she could think of and told them they better come visit me before it was too late. My memory of those days are very foggy, and I did not think I was that bad at the time. But since then, I have heard Karrie and my doctors speak about it and I now know how serious it was.

But I didn’t die, and a long recovery period followed, during which, at times, I probably wished I had. But enough of that. Over the weekend, this all came rushing back to me because of a simple phrase my wife spoke to a group of ladies — and because of the tears in a friend’s eyes.

“I’m thankful for his hands,” she said as she held up her hand, mimicking mine. We had just both taken a class to get certified in Aromatouch. (You can ask me about that some time when you see me) In the class we had to give someone a massage-type rub down; I gave one to her. As she said those words, other words bounced in my skull. Love, Grace, Faith and Humbleness were the feelings that I was wrestling with as she looked back at me with real heartfelt love in her eyes. She explained a little to the rest of the ladies briefly, and we quickly moved to the next person. That is when I looked up across the little circle and looked into the eyes of someone else who was there. This friend has been on this journey with us and had done a lot of work to try and help us many times over the years. She and her family and other friends had helped us finish a room in our house for our daughter. They had also done fund raisers for us when I was really sick and could not work. They had walked with us. She knew what Karrie meant.

When it was her turn to share, she explained her feelings, but this what touched me the most: “I am just so blessed to be able to help you all.” There it is. These words cut me to the core and I felt what she was saying. Yes, and so are we blessed, too, was what was in my head.

So, this is not a column of what I am thankful for. It’s not about what a wonderful person she is either, although she is. It’s about how can I, and you, make others thankful for us. How can I help my fellow man or woman to be blessed, to give them a little joy during these difficult times. There are lots of people out there hurting. There are many different reasons for their pain. Some are self-inflicted, some are still mysteries as to why. Some are just a part of life, but nonetheless the pain or loneliness is real and sometimes debilitating. It could be a massage or just a friendly ear to listen. It could be a cup of coffee or an entire meal. But the need is there. If you can’t see it, you’re not looking very hard.

Yes, be thankful for the blessings God has put in your life, but let’s be a blessing to others too. A simple tear in a man’s eyes can fill up an empty cup. Think about it.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

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