Thursday, March 02, 2006

Love in action

My uncle died very suddenly. He was swimming with his children, and -- who knows why -- he had a brain aneurysm. He died instantly, and the two oldest children (E, age 8 and B, age 9) had to drag him from the middle of the pool.

It makes me cry just remembering it. It was an incredibly hard time for the family -- for the whole family -- but most especially for my aunt and cousins.

This all happened years ago, and the children aren't children any more. C, the youngest, will be 20 this month.

I always count my years with my dear friend Michael from the birth of the youngest. We were friends for several years before that, but the first time that Michael went to my Memaw's house was when C was born. Almost immediately, Michael was adopted into my strange, quirky, loving family.

But all of the above is just back-story.

On Sunday night, Michael called E. The usual sort of conversation ensued . . .

In the middle of the conversation, however, E said, "I need to tell you something. Right now. After my dad died, I remember how you were there for us kids. I remember that you picked us up from school sometimes. How you took B to dance class and let me drive your truck while we waited for her. All of that stuff that you did, and you didn't HAVE to do. You were there for us, and we needed it. And you didn't have to do any of it. I remember it, and I appreciate it."

Michael took the time to be with them while they were growing up, and it made a difference. E was absolutely right. He didn't have to; it wasn't an obligation. His actions came from love and caring, with no other motive whatsoever. He simply saw a need and did what he could to fill it.

Michael loves to say how completely superficial he is. I've never believed it. He may prefer to hide it, but he has a beautiful heart.

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