I really didn’t know…

Today Chili’s is donating all of their profits to St. Jude’s in Memphis, TN. I am making my plans to find a way to order a meal so that I can have part in this massive campaign. You see it was only a few short years ago that I made a few trips up there with some of my fellow teachers to see a student who was suffering with leukemia. We would make a short trip of it… drive up from Louisiana to Memphis after school on Friday, spend all day with John and his mother, then try to make it home by sometime late Saturday night. (we sometimes had to stop and get rooms and roll on in early Sunday morning….)

I cannot speak for my colleagues, but I have never regretted those trips. John passed away in the same year. But thinking about Chili’s promotion today sparked my memories of ST. Jude’s. I remember specifically how happy John was to see us, even though we were his teachers (we did take a couple of students with us a time or two…). But this morning I thought more about how his mom would cling to us when we got there…how she visited and painfully shared her heart when John wasn’t listening. The male teacher would head out for John to give him some sort of tour and his mom would unload all of the grief of the moment that comes from watching your son suffer so…all the questions…all the doubts… the fears… and the hopes.

I really had no idea what those trips must have meant to her. Most of the time she was there alone with John. Her husband would come up sometimes but there were younger children at home that had to have some sort of “normal” maintained for them so he did not come but on weekends some.

It’s funny (not haha funny either) how experience brings understanding. Until I had faced the last three years I could not understand what our trips up must have meant to her…and to John I’m sure. Now I know at least in part how wonderful it is to get a phone call, instant message, text or a visit from a friend. It really does mean so much to us who are “going through” when someone takes a few seconds of their time to step away from their own burdens and spend a moment to say they care…or that they are praying for you.

I really  didn’t know until now… so for those who have taken a moment and shared a phone call, a note or just dropped by to say, “Hi!” It really means so much…thank you. And if you haven’t yet – find someone today to call, or send a card to, pray for them – then tell them you prayed for them…You see, I never knew what it meant…until now.

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