I have a great friend, he is actually “adopted family. He is advanced in years and slowing down. He is eighty-one and he sometimes forgets things, gets frustrated and shows his age. I call him “Bad Andy” after the puppet character Dominos Pizza used in commercials one time. I was going through a tough day today and I thought about him. The time when he gave me a unique gift.
Being advanced in years, even long ago, Andy loved hearing about my parents and grand parents. He took quite a delight in the fact that I would call my grandfather once a week to see how he was doing and ask him “wisdom” questions. He would ask if I had called him and did I learn anything. Ironically, Andy had his own ritual. He would make his way through the church offices once a week, sharing a kind word and hug for most of us when he dropped off his small group attendance. On the day I found out that my Pop had passed away, Andy gave me a big hug and told me it was going to be alright. The next week, he came in and sat down. I asked him what he needed and he said, “Oh, not much. I thought I would just sit down for a while.” We would chat for a few minutes – never too long. Then, he would say, “I got to get going…it was nice talking with you.” I didn’t think much about it (I can become very focused when I am in office mode.) He did the same thing the next week and I thought, “It is always nice to have a kind word from Andy and someone to see how my week is going.” After a few more weeks, it hit me. He was helping me fill the gap of my grandfather and our weekly conversations. (I know you saw it, but again, I can get focused.) When Bad Andy came in the next week, I asked him about it. He got a sheepish grin and said, “Yes. I know he meant a lot to you and I thought you’d like some time together.”
I run really hard in my schedule. I bet you do too. Can we all learn a lesson from Bad Andy and give a little time to someone else? It wasn’t ever convenient at the time but it still means a lot. Even years later, I smile at Andy’s gift.