Time is such a precious commodity, but one we all take for granted over the course of our lives. People get so wrapped up in their day to day existence that they miss life. Most importantly they miss precious time to spend with loved ones until it is either too late, or something happens that makes a persons remaining time so much more valuable to them and their families. I saw a Facebook post today that really touched me. This was posted by a gentleman named Vincent Hester on November 11, 2015. I believe this story to be true, but should it not be there is still a tremendous message in this story. Here it is:
A nurse took the tired, anxious serviceman to the bedside. “Your son is here,” she said to the old man. She had to repeat the words several times before the patient’s eyes opened.
Heavily sedated because of the pain of his heart… attack, he… dimly saw the young uniformed Marine standing outside the oxygen tent. He reached out his hand. The Marine wrapped his toughened fingers around the old man’s limp ones, squeezing a message of love and encouragement.
The nurse brought a chair so that the Marine could sit beside the bed. All through the night the young Marine sat there in the poorly lighted ward, holding the old man’s hand and offering him words of love and strength. Occasionally, the nurse suggested that the Marine move away and rest awhile. He refused.
Whenever the nurse came into the ward, the Marine was oblivious of her and of the night noises of the hospital – the clanking of the oxygen tank, the laughter of the night staff members exchanging greetings, the cries and moans of the other patients. Now and then she heard him say a few gentle words. The dying man said nothing, only held tightly to his son all through the night.
Along towards dawn, the old man died. The Marine released the now lifeless hand he had been holding and went to tell the nurse. While she did what she had to do, he waited.
Finally, she returned. She started to offer words of sympathy, but the Marine interrupted her, “Who was that man?” he asked.
The nurse was startled, “He was your father,” she answered.
“No, he wasn’t,” the Marine replied. “I never saw him before in my life.”
“Then why didn’t you say something when I took you to him?”
“I knew right away there had been a mistake, but I also knew he needed his son, and his son just wasn’t here. When I realized that he was too sick to tell whether or not I was his son, knowing how much he needed me, I stayed. I came here tonight to find a Mr. William Grey. His Son was killed in Iraq today, and I was sent to inform him. What was this Gentleman’s Name? “
The nurse with tears in her eyes answered, “Mr. William Grey………”
The next time someone needs you … just be there
What a tremendously beautiful story of God’s love that a person would sit with a dying man whom he did not know giving him comfort in his last hours. So many people today need that phone call, that visit, that time spent just talking and being present for another – especially those that are ill and/or dying. This is exactly the type of response our God calls us to do. I realize that for those that are taking care of terminally ill friends and family this can be tremendously heartbreaking, and emotionally a very difficult time for all involved. I lived through this myself with my mother a number of years ago. I can’t imagine how hard it is for the patients, but i know it can be very difficult for the caregivers as well as the friends and families of these patients. God’s message to us is “be present”. I know the families and friends of Lynn and Alison are providing comfort to their loved ones as they struggle with terminal diseases right now. God gives us an opportunity to walk that last part of their journey together with these people and i know i was honored to be able to walk with my mom during this time. While the call to “be present” can be difficult for all, trust in God and you will find that just being there, like the young Marine in the story, is incredibly precious to those who are struggling as well as those that walk the journey with them.
God asks us to be present in the day to day existence of each others lives. Your decision to leave work on time and spend an hour with someone, a friend or family member whether they are in need or not is the most precious gift we can give to another. How many parents wish they had back some time they lost so they could spend them with their kids as they grew up while the parents were focused on work and supporting the household? God wants us to live in the present, not in the future or in the past as most are apt to do and most importantly “be there” for those that are in need – even if we don’t know them like the Marine in the story.
Please feel free to list the first names of those in need of prayers tonight and we will create a prayer tree for all those in need.