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John Simmons

When I left last month to go see my grandfather I honestly didn’t know what to expect. Receiving the call, I was told he was in very bad shape and many people (even the nurses at the time) were not expecting him to make it. Regardless, I bought the ticket on short notice telling my grandmother and a couple other relatives. Grandpa however didn’t know I was coming, I wanted to surprise him… Meanwhile I was roller coaster of emotions and questions, just simply hoping my eyes could meet his and he would recognize me you know?

“What do I say?”

“Am I to late?”

“Will he recognize me? Know I am even there?”

These were just a couple of the many questions that my mind conjured as every question made me relive that dreadful moment with my dad at 14 when he passed. But I knew God wanted me to go down there. I just knew I had to go so I got on the plane and headed south. All the while still wondering what am I going do? If he needs encouragement how can I ever encourage him? Is there anything that I can say to make this situation better?
I arrived and as I pulled into the driveway fear began to creep into my heart. I did however mustered up the courage and no sooner than my hand touched that doorknob a deep sense of peace came over me. I knew without a shadow of a doubt this is exactly where I needed to be. 
I walked in and there in the living room was my grandfather. Swollen beyond imagination and his arms many times larger than mine. Death was warring with his body and it looked as if it was about to claim victory. I immediately clasped my hand to his.

“Richard!” Grandma said with sheer excitement “John, your grandson is here!”

He turned his head and looked right at me. The biggest smile painted his face from ear to ear and his swollen hand gripped mine even tighter. Though he lay there broken, he was filled with joy, and his heart flooded with happiness. We didn’t really talk that day, regardless though I stayed by his side. Later that evening I felt the soft whisper of God’s voice pierce the drums of my ears.

“Remember when you asked me what it is that I wanted you to do, son?” the Lord asked me

“I do, Lord.”

“You’re doing it.”

Suddenly it was like God opened the blinds in the dark room of my mind and the morning sun extinguished every crevice of darkness. I am very analytical almost to a fault and I try to figure things out even when it comes to those hurting. Whether it is actually stepping into someone’s situation or as someone is pouring out their heart and their struggles before me, I try to give them the best aid and advice (wisdom) that I can. Yet there I stood, next to my grandfather in a situation that neither of the former would help. Yet all that mattered was that I was there. Presence was all that was needed.

Don’t ever mistake your presence when it comes to someone’s situation. I think many of us fill like we have to always be ready to give advice, maybe even aid. Sometimes those two are impossible to give. But there sure is a lot grace to be had when that person going through suffering isn’t going through it alone. This is why we mourn with those who mourn, why we cry with those who cry.



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