Recently, I had a wonderful visit with an aging saint. He has been through quite a number of health issues, and is a widower of a little more than 10 years. He is fairly quiet, but we enjoy each other’s company.
On this day, he had great news from his doctors and was wanting to talk. It was a joy to hear his good news and then just to “shoot the breeze” for a few minutes. To say the least, we had a great visit.
However, during the course of our time, this man shed tears.
But he taught me so much in those moments that I pray I do not forget anytime soon.
This could be a post about keeping a tender heart or about how it’s okay for real men to cry, but that’s not what he taught me through his tears.
He taught me about what is really important.
His first tears fell from his face as we were just sharing memories. He had told me that his heart doctor had given him good news, and that he took that news very seriously. This wise man said something like, “That heart will get you if you aren’t careful. And often without warning.”
Then, he sobbed. Why? Because, through the tears, he said, “Just like it did my wife.”
She died from a sudden heart attack over 10 years ago, but that memory still floods this good man with emotion. He showed me pictures (she was beautiful) and talked about some of their family traditions.
Our conversation continued for a little while on various subjects, when he turned the talk to Lebanon Road and what a good place it is. Part of the pain this man has been through for many months is that he has not been able to drive. And, even if someone could bring him to worship, there have been very few days when he could come. The pain was just too much for him to bear.
As he talked about that, tears began to flow again.
As they did, he said, “I sure miss church. I’ve wanted to go to church.”
Here was a man who has been through so much for quite a long time. His pain is unthinkable to me, and he has been able to do very little for himself. He has faced frustration and pain that I would not wish upon anyone, and has done so with a great attitude.
But what brought him to tears?
He missed his wife and worship.
Talk about a wake up call for all of us.
When you are thinking of returning “that” phone call to “that” girl, or chatting with that “old flame” on Facebook, think of my friend, who built a marriage that shows what love and dedication is all about.
Or,when the beach or “the big game” seems more important than worshiping God, picture my friend sitting at home where he can watch whatever he wants on TV, but would do anything to gather before God in worship.
If his tears didn’t remind me of where my priorities should be, then I’m not sure my emotions can be touched. What will touch yours?
Photo credit: Alisha Vargas on Creative Commons
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