Henry sat next to Spencer for a long time, neither one of them saying much to each other. The two had been friends for decades. After a while, Henry stood, took his friend’s hand lightly in his own, and walked away without a word.
Henry quipped to his son who sat waiting in the adjacent room, “It was a good visit.”
Spencer was dying, and Henry had come to spend a few precious, final moments with his long-time friend.
Recently, I visited a friend who underwent a difficult surgery with a difficult recovery. He also lost a child eight months ago.
We reminisced. We laughed. Some tears were shed.
On a long run over a year ago, I broke down and wept on a friend’s shoulder. It was dark; still long before sunrise. For a moment, I let myself believe it was an awkward situation, but then I remembered who my friend is. He’s the type of man who gives so selflessly yet always wonders if he’s doing enough. For me, he’s a role model of what it means to serve others.
Most of my early morning runs with my friends are blended together in a medley of inseparable memories, but that morning is etched in my mind. Five minutes that won’t soon be forgotten.
Rare are the times when being there for someone else is the wrong thing to do. Small, simple acts of kindness are usually the ones that resonate the longest with people.
There’s a steady increase to the cadence of life which has already passed from frenetic to chaotic — like doom-scrolling multiple social media feeds at once — and it’s far too easy to lose sight of the power your gift of time can be in the life of someone else.
I believe that the desire and will to do good in the lives of others is innate in everyone. Nurture, more than nature, can quell or enhance that that desire.
It’s not always easy or convenient to be there for another person. Service is often a sacrifice. Even when not viewed as a sacrifice, there is a tradeoff; you could be doing else.
Service — showing up for someone else in an unexpected way — is often rewarding. Sometimes, though, it can be painful, even heart wrenching.