Friday, February 28, 2014

Prayers For Morris

Have you ever had one of those moments when your mind goes completely blank? Before you know it, the pressure from all those thoughts just clamoring to get back in makes you feel dizzy, and sick to your stomach, and short of breath.

A couple of weeks ago, I arrived home just as the sky was beginning to darken with the twilight. The weather was balmy, and in my haste for Springtime, I had cranked up the radio and down the windows. My neighbor and his son were standing out front, obviously rushing Spring as well. As I exited my truck, we exchanged our usual greeting -- but something was different this time. You see, it usually goes like this:

"Good evening, Neighbor!"
"Hey, Morris! How ya doin'?"
"I'm blessed. How are you?"
"Blessed also!" [Begin small talk, if so led.]

But this evening, Morris was moving toward me, looking as if something was on his mind. Now, our neighborhood is fairly close knit. We try to keep one another abreast of events nearby -- mischief or burglaries, move-ins, move-outs, neighbors who are ill, or are now alone. A bit morose, I guess, now that I see it in print, but we do look out for one another.

Then, he began to speak. He was ill. This grand, strong man whose booming voice I have heard through the party wall for the last twenty years. This father, husband, and friend whose mirthful, easy-going, and sometimes ornery nature bring life to the home next door. This man who has stood hour after hour, melting over glowing charcoal on the most sweltering days, preparing food for anyone who wishes to eat. This man was ill. It would mean surgery, a hospital stay or two, and who knows what.

The tears began to flow. I tried to hold back. Was he afraid? My crying wouldn't help. Was he still processing? Tears would be a terrible complication. With each of his words, the answers became obvious, and we approached the point where there were no more facts to report. The message was delivered. He no longer had to struggle to keep his voice level, to remain methodical. The message was received. And it was my turn to speak.

When, I'm not sure, but all the thoughts that had so recently escaped, slowly began funneling their way back inside my mind. My head became a whirlpool of questions and fears, assurances and rationalizations, things I should say and things I shouldn't. What words could possibly convey what I wished for him without betraying what I feared? Support, sympathy, hope, confederacy, health. What could I say that would be personal and honest, and come from the depths of my heart?

Before one question was answered, the words fell out, "Morris, I am so sorry to hear this. I love you, and I will pray for you."

For all its lack of profundity and originality, it was honest, supportive, and truly came from the depths of my heart. But no empty words here...I am praying for Morris' complete restoration. I hope you will, too.
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