I was sitting in a meeting and glanced at my vibrating phone…a voicemail from a friend…someone we love…but don’t see very often. Our kids grew up playing golf together and the age difference between all of them is years. One of the very best things about golf is that a foursome can consist of players ages 10 to 70. I love it. Our children have golfing friends who are 7 years younger and 50 years older.
The voicemail had my attention because I rarely get to talk to this golfing dad…so as soon as I could, I listened. The voice was shaky and I immediately knew something was wrong. I had a hard time understanding which child’s name he said but knew one of them had the news of the dreaded diagnosis of Type 1 diabetes.
The voicemail took me back in time…to the shock and shakiness of my whole body….the limpness I felt in my knees…and the lump I had in my throat that didn’t go away. The suspended feeling of floating in the unknown with no anchor of knowledge. I was so sad about the call…but happy…to be the one called. After 19 years of “mothering” the disease, I unfortunately, but fortunately, knew our experience could help. Thomas, who is now a young adult, is the one who can sympathize, relate to and read the mind of the young boy who is new to the family of Type 1. The first words out of Thomas’s mouth was “What’s up dude? It’s gonna be ok!” as he knelt down beside the bed of this young boy.
As Thomas and I drove to the hospital to visit the family, I asked Thomas, “What do you remember about your time of diagnosis?” I was shocked at how much he remembered from being 5!! His memory was vivid. A hot rush washed over me and tears flowed unexpectedly when Thomas started recounting the memory of USC Basketball player BJ Mackey coming to the hospital and spending a long time and playing Candy Land with him.
Wow! Just wow! Eddie Fogler, USC head basketball coach at the time, had a ball signed and sent to Thomas. Little did we know then that Eddie’s son Ben would play many rounds of golf with Thomas…and that Eddie would be a close friend of Thomas down the road.
As Thomas relived his memories…all over again…the GRATITUDE…and the actions of others flooded my heart as I listened to Thomas’ reflection…from so long ago. We talked about friends whose children drew pictures. Thomas noted to me…”I love being a first responder”…he said…”You never forget it!”
Point of post: Actions…kind actions…a first response…to someone’s pain is meaningful. It makes a lasting impact. It can be comforting medicine in the most difficult circumstances. Proverbs 17:22 tells us that “A cheerful heart is good medicine…” That cheerful heart may look like just showing up in the middle of someone’s pain. We all can be, and have been called to be, Good Samaritans. We might not have the experience or the exact words…but ACTION…moving toward someone just to BE PRESENT…leaves a mark…a healing touch to the “bleeding of someone’s circumstances”. Remember, “Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones’ (Proverbs 16:24).
The Bradshaws need to get better at this. Last night prompted me to write this post, not to highlight us as much as to highlight what Thomas remembered from 19 years ago…about the actions of others. He said, “I will always remember and never forget. It has encouraged me to do the same thing.”
I encourage you today with this simple prayer. Ask God who and where and when you can comfort someone else. I can promise you that God will SHOW YOU. He might even FLOOD that request. People every day are hurting and we are to be the hands and FEET of Jesus. Ask Him today to show you. Thomas, at age 24, learned at age 5 how to respond…to someone else’s pain.
Don’t ever discount your storm.
It is training ground for you to learn from others how to respond…to another’s storm.
“I would go to the deeps a hundred times to cheer a downcast spirit. It is good for me to have been afflicted, that I might know how to speak a word in season to one that is weary.” ~ Charles Spurgeon