The Farmer’s Son

“I’d like to come by and visit.  Would that be all right?” His call surprised me.  I hadn’t heard from him in some time. But he was visiting his parents about an hour away and wanted to stop by for a while. “Absolutely!  Come on over.  Jeff should be back shortly.  He’ll be happy to see you.” As the activities of the day would have it, he arrived before Jeff. We sat on the front porch in the warm summer air chatting and waiting.  Soon Jeff arrived.  Jeff wasn’t expecting him and didn’t recognize him right off in his bib overalls and cap.  We’d always seen him in his dress slacks and a tie, this farmer’s son turned banker.  But his friendly smile and firm hand shake immediately gave him away.  We went in the house where Jeff could relax and we could visit about the good ole’ days.

The farmer’s son visited a few more times over those two years.  The last time he came it was obvious it would be the last time. We chatted more about the things “back home”. Before he left that day he said, “You know, I always say I’ll see you again. But we all know one of these times I won’t.  One of these times it will be the last time. In case this is the last time, I want you to know what you’ve meant to me.  I can’t explain it really.  I haven’t known you that well. But know you made a great impression on my life. I think we could have had a lot of fun times together if I’d known you better. If I don’t see you again, I want you to know I’ll miss you.” And the two men hugged and slapped backs like only men can. It was the last time.

I saw the farmer’s son again at the funeral. He drove a long ways for the service. He didn’t stay long.  He just needed to say good-bye one more time and acknowledge the passing of his friend.  I saw him in the foyer at the church wearing his more familiar attire of suit and tie.  Many people came that day that I won’t remember.  But I’ll always remember seeing him there because of the words he dared speak at his last visit.

Why must we wait until the doorstep of death to say words that could have such meaning in life? Or worse yet, why do we sometimes never dare to speak them at all?

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9 Comments

  1. Eloquent, somber thoughts, Sylvia. Why indeed do we wait?

    Reply
    • He waited. But yet this man we hardly knew ministered to me more deeply than countless other friends because he dared to be real.

      Reply
  2. This is a good lesson, and I will take this to heart. Let the people know what they mean to you now. Years ago, before my Uncle died, (he had Parkinson’s disease), I wrote him and my aunt and told them what an important part their faith in Christ had played in my life. I thanked them for always being such a good Christian witness. I also on a couple occasions sent them flowers– I knew at some point, Uncle was going to pass, and I wanted them to enjoy the flowers while he was still alive. I did the same for a friend who passed away about a year ago. I wrote her and sent her flowers– she would tell me how much she appreiciated it. She had other friends who also did such wonderful things for her–and she blessed a lot of people over the years. I am not sharing this to be proud, I just would encourage people–like you did–to tell the ones you love now, how much they mean to you. Thank you for sharing this simple, heartwarming story.

    Reply
  3. Greg Anderson

     /  March 7, 2012

    Sylvia, I’ve started writing a letter to your kids about what Jeff means to me a half dozen times. I always stop because I don’t feel like I knew him well enough and that I shouldn’t assume you’d want to hear from me in the first place. I’m going to finish that letter, and I’m going to hand deliver it.

    There are so few truly “good” men that one gets to know in life. When the chips are down a man’s soul is layed bare and he is shown as he truly is. Jeff was a good one. He taught me that planning is important, but living is more important.

    Funny thing is, as I looked around the funeral that day I noticed that I was the only one wearing Wyoming funeral attire. Jeans, boots and a button up shirt. I thought Jeff would have appreciated that.

    Sincerely,

    Greg Anderson

    Reply
    • 🙂 thank you, Greg. But u just discredited my story with your description of your funeral attire. 🙂 And yes, Jeff would have appproved. Your visits really meant a lot. He didn’t understand the impact he had on your life, but it was good for both of our souls to hear it. Your honesty and ability to share from your heart will always be remembered – even if I couldn’t remember what u were wearing. 🙂

      Reply
    • Just in case you have any doubts, Greg, we would love for u to write the letter and would be honored if u would hand deliver it.

      Reply
  4. Another good post, and of course we would all do well to hand out praise whenever we can. Three Saturdays in a row I have driven down to the Lizard in Cornwall as I attempt to walk all 312 across all sorts of terrain.
    Each time I am reminded of a holiday in the area shortly after I became a Christian. My friend took me to a Baptist Chapel where an elderly lady was made aware of the fact i had just decided to follow the Lord.
    She came up to me and said, “Always remember Peter. when he tooks his eyes of Jesus he started to sink. Keep your eyes on Jesus.”
    I never saw her again, but those words have carried more weight than a thousand sermons.
    God Bless you today.

    Reply

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