Today I gave a card to a workmate whose father is going in for triple bypass surgery tomorrow. It wasn’t my idea. It’s not that I don’t like him, it’s that I don’t want to be around him at all. He’s a golden-hearted guy deep down. Way deep down. At work he’s all bluff and meanness, and he doesn’t pull his weight in his section. But how many of us are at our best at work? I’d bet it’s a pretty small percentage, if my work experience is any judge. Anecdotal evidence, I know, but I’m guessing it’ll still hold true if we took a more “scientific” study. and hey, his dad is getting ready to go under the knife for some really serious surgery.
His dad is in his seventies, he’s also a former Marine. His mom is around the same age, and she’s had triple bypass surgery twelve years ago. She is apparently still going strong. This guy loves his parents but is scared to death of the emotion of losing them. I don’t think having them gone is any big deal to him, at least not right now. His thing is not wanting to show emotion in public, and when one of your parents dies you’re going to show emotion pretty much any place you happen to be standing.
Because this guy acts like a jerk, and because our workplace is an actively hostile environment, no one is going to get out of his foxhole to show this fellow a kindness. It’s not safe, and the payoff is at best a grunt serving as a thanks.
I found him out in the smoking area and told him I’d been praying for him and had made him a card. He hugged me and then he started to open the card and then stopped. His question breaks my heart to think about it: “Is this for my dad or for me?”
It’s for you, Jeff.
The inside of the card read “The race is yours but you don’t have to run it alone.”
I’ll update the post later with the results of the surgery.
UPDATE, 18 July 2009: Jeff’s dad is either on his way home, or is home already. He had a little trouble coming out of surgery (10 1/2 hours), and had some trouble with his hearing, but he seems to be recovering well. Thank you for your prayers.