There’s this fellow that randomly, but consistently, texts Preston. When that distinctive ping sounds out, you can visibly see Preston sit up in his chair a little taller. And with a little joy in his eyes. The text usually says 4 simple words.
“How are you doing?”.
“Been thinking about you”
Before Preston got sick, he was in upper management of a multi-million dollar steel corporation. Several years ago, my Pop(known for his jokes) asked one of Preston’s employees to do something to Preston. The poor guy adamantly refused and told Pop that Preston had the power to fire him for just looking at him wrong and he wanted no part of it! Preston was well respected in his field. The days leading up to Preston’s brain aneurysm, he’d been forced to lay off employees. He cried many tears and said many prayers that week.
The final night of the layoffs was the same night our world flipped upside down. Preston’s never been able to step foot back on that shop floor. And he never will. Preston lost so much more than his career with his disability.
Several months ago, we ran into someone we know that was having some medical issues. After the normal pleasantries, the guy blurted out that he had told his doctor that if he was going to take his driver’s license, that he just needed to go ahead and shoot him. Preston has never regained his ability to drive and never will. That remark, while the guy meant no harm, stung. Men consider that a part of their manhood.
So does Preston. I understand, but naturally disagree. Preston will always be the strongest man I know. My hero. But in the testerone fueled world, my vote doesn’t count.
Preston can’t hop in his beloved Mistress and run down to store and get him a soda and bag of peanuts.
When the church has men’s meetings, Preston is at the mercy of one of our boys.
How frustrating it must be to have to wait on a 16-year old to get home from school and run you on errands?
He can’t even go and buy me a birthday gift without it being me that takes him. The good Lord knows I try to hide 2 aisles over and not look, but it’s hard. 😂
Outside of our family and few close friends, Preston feels forgotten. He feels useless and like he has no purpose here at times.
I can’t count the tears I’ve cried, or the prayers I’ve prayed. I’ve asked for help on his behalf. I’ve explained until I was blue in the face how he needs spiritual, testosterone fueled encouragement that I can not give him. People make empty promises and come around a few more times, and then go back to their same habits. That hurt worse. Especially when they can see this man’s needs and not help a brother.
My heart started getting bitter. And bitterness is a vile, vile thing. Once, I couldn’t hide the tears from Preston and I told him how it hurt to see what I felt was an injustice to him. It wasn’t fair! My sweet Preston hugged me and told me that it was okay. He understood why people didn’t come around him. He was a reminder that it could happen to any of them. He told me that night that he had his family and he had his friendship with Matt. He didn’t need anyone else. I strongly disagree.
I changed my prayers. I started praying for God to REMOVE people from our lives that were not willing to invest in him. I also asked him to place people in our lives that would. And God is doing it.
Proverbs 27:17-19 says:
17 As iron sharpens iron,
so one person sharpens another.
18 The one who guards a fig tree will eat its fruit, and whoever protects their master will be honored.
19 As water reflects the face,
so one’s life reflects the heart.
Iron has to touch Iron in order to sharpen it. A brother has to be extremely close to his brother in order to help sharpen him. It takes time and a lot of consistant investing in order to have that intimacy.
Those 4 words from Danny this morning are a beautiful reminder that God has heard our prayers. Even sweeter is knowing that God himself cares for the disabled and Jesus’ compassion for them is told so many times in the Word. God’s given me a peace and the bitterness has departed just as quickly as it came.
Keeping it real,