July 5, 2008

July 5, 2008
Thanks for checking out my blog today. It's Saturday and today's blog entry is going to be different from most.

See I just found out today that my friend, Dale, passed away last night. If you regularly read this blog, you have heard me talk about Dale for most of the year. We had been friends for almost four years and he was a sweet, caring man. Dale had spent most of the year in the hospital for several health problems and his body finally gave out. I think the shock of his brother dying earlier this year didn't help thing either.

In memory of Dale, I am going to share something that was recently sent to me by a friend that made me think about Dale. Now Dale wasn't a fancy man. He was very down to earth and the type of man you knew you could trust and count on. Since Dale was an older large man, I know some people would discount him for his lack of youth or muscles. But his biggest muscle and attribute was his heart. So in memory of Dale and our friendship, I submit the following for your enjoyment and reflection. Remember to always tell those special people in your life that you love them. You never know when you might not have the opportunity again. A lesson I have had to learn way too many times in my life.

Shoes in Church

I showered and shaved. I adjusted my tie.

I got there and sat. In a pew just in time.

Bowing my head in prayer. As I closed my eyes.

I saw the shoe of the man next to me. Touching my own. I sighed.

With plenty of room on either side. I thought, "Why must our soles touch?"

It bothered me, his shoe touching mine. But it didn't bother him much.

A prayer began: "Our Father". I thought, "This man with the shoes, has no pride. They're dusty, worn, and scratched. Even worse, there are holes on the side!"

"Thank You for blessings," the prayer went on.

The shoe man said. A quiet "Amen." I tried to focus on the prayer. But my thoughts were on his shoes again.

Aren't we supposed to look our best. When walking through that door?

"Well, this certainly isn't it," I thought, Glancing toward the floor.

Then the prayer was ended. And the songs of praise began.

The shoe man was certainly loud. Sounding proud as he sang.

His voice lifted the rafters. His hands were raised high.

The Lord could surely hear. The shoe man's voice from the sky.

It was time for the offering. And what I threw in was steep.

I watched as the shoe man reached. Into his pockets so deep.

I saw what was pulled out. What the shoe man put in.

Then I heard a soft "clink". As when silver hits tin.

The sermon really bored me. To tears, and that's no lie.

It was the same for the shoe man. For tears fell from his eyes

At the end of the service. As is the custom here.

We must greet new visitors, And show them all good cheer.

But I felt moved somehow. And wanted to meet the shoe man.

So after the closing prayer. I reached over and shook his hand.

He was old and his skin was dark. And his hair was truly a mess.

But I thanked him for coming. For being our guest.

He said, "My names' Charlie. I'm glad to meet you, my friend."

There were tears in his eyes. But he had a large, wide grin.

"Let me explain," he said. Wiping tears from his eyes.

"I've been coming here for months. And you're the first to say 'Hi.'"

"I know that my appearance."Is not like all the rest.

"But I really do try. "To always look my best."

"I always clean and polish my shoes. "Before my very long walk.

"But by the time I get here. "They're dirty and dusty, like chalk" My heart filled with pain. And I swallowed to hide my tears.

As he continued to apologize. For daring to sit so near

He said, "When I get here. "I know I must look a sight.

"But I thought if I could touch you. "Then maybe our souls might unite."

I was silent for a moment. Knowing whatever was said Would pale in comparison. I spoke from my heart, not my head.

"Oh, you've touched me," I said. "And taught me, in part; "That the best of any man. "Is what is found in his heart."

The rest, I thought,. This shoe man will never know.

Like just how thankful I really am. That his dirty old shoe touched my soul

You are special to me and you have made a difference in my life.

I respect you, and truly cherish you.

Let old friends know you haven't forgotten them, and tell new friends you never will.

Remember, everyone needs a friend.

Someday you might feel like you have no friends at all Just remember this story and take comfort in knowing that Someone out there cares about you. And always will.

Live each day as your last, it could be.

So to Dale, I would like to thank you for your special friendship and reminding me to always look inside a person for the good in them. I will miss you until we are together again my friend. God speed.

Wishing all of you health, hope and happiness.

Big bear hug,

Daddy Dab