The Shape of Things

“How are you today, sir?”

“I’m fine. Well, really —  … “How are you today, sir?”

“I’m fine. Well, really —  No, I’m fine,” he would respond.  “And, you?”

“I am, too, thank you.” I quickly interjected, “Yeah, anytime we think we have it bad, all we have to do is look around us and someone always has it worse.”

“You are right, ma’am. But for the Good Lord, we’d all be in sad shape.” His expression was sincere. You could tell this 70+/- gentleman wholeheartedly believed what he proclaimed.

We had several minutes to converse before others would arrive and began engaging in small talk initially. I elicited questions, in my usual manner. I’m always intrigued when people openly confess their dependency upon the Lord. He began sharing some situations in his life. He had recently lost his brother and was trying to take care of the details surrounding his estate.  He and his wife were currently involved in the rearing of their four grandchildren who lived three hours from their home. Their mother had abandoned the family, falling prey to infidelity. I was touched when he commented, “She’s still our daughter-in-law regardless of what she’s done. We love her and pray for her every day.”

His wife was in poor health, and he was caring for her. He had experienced a lot of damage to his property from a recent storm. He had just come from the doctor’s office himself for a kidney issue. His droopy countenance revealed his complete exhaustion with life, yet he resounded with perseverance and hope. He was a precious gent! Time went by too swiftly. Others joined us and the proceedings began.

I sat in my capacity as a court reporter and took down this man’s deposition. He had been involved in a car accident that could have happened to any one of us given the same set of circumstances, but it fell upon him to have to defend his right of passage in this case. His attitude was gracious and tender. As the attorney questioned him about background information, he unfolded even more details of his “Job” experiences, careful not to bemoan.

The deposition adjourned and we exchanged pleasantries as he exited. I shared with his attorney how enamored I was with his character. He explained this man was battling cancer and had just left the doctor’s from receiving his chemo treatment. The gentleman had never mentioned the word.

My heart reengaged with our earlier salutations. I actually had the audacity – out of this mouth of mine – to say to this gentleman, “Anytime we think we have it bad, all we have to do is look around us and someone always has it worse”! I had no idea who I was stating that to. I paused, understanding full well the message behind the gentleman’s comment: “But for the Good Lord, we’d all be in sad shape.” I found great comfort in the assurance he took no offense to my untimely comment.

Think you’re battling a lot? Our attitude shapes the shape we’re in!

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