Monday, July 29, 2013

10:40 AM - 2 comments

The Kindness of Strangers


If you turn the news on the television… its all bad. Fires… murders… wars… hate… bigotry… and the newspaper headlines are the same. Are there ANY good things happening in this world today. Does mankind even care about each other anymore?

Yes. They do… and it was proven to me over the last few weeks.

If you follow me on FaceBook… or Twitter… or here on this blog, you have probably seen me mention “Jerry’s Journey” a time or two within the past couple of weeks. Here’s what I actually know about the situation…

Jerry was a Viet Nam Veteran. He and his wife had custody of their granddaughter, Brittany. Sadly, his wife passed back in December leaving just him and Brittany to carry on. Jerry paid for his wife’s services and ordered a double headstone to be put on the grave and was making payments to cover the cost. And then he was diagnosed with a terminal disease… with just mere weeks left to go.

Many of us have things we would like to do during our lifetimes… a “bucket list” as they are known. Parachuting… white water rafting… climbing Mount Everest… visiting Rome… each bucket list is as different as the person making it. And Jerry had a bucket list, too… but his was simple. And short. Like his time left…

First and foremost… Jerry wanted to ensure Brittany’s needs would be met. This would require legal work and was the biggest concern on Jerry’s mind.

Secondly… Jerry wanted to get the headstone placed on his wife’s, and soon to be his, graves so that he could place flowers for her at least once.

Next… as a Viet Nam Veteran, Jerry wanted to visit The Wall in Washington DC. This was no small task considering that he was in Alabama… his health was perilous… and his time quickly running short.

Lastly… Jerry wanted to go with peace of mind. He was worried about his final expenses and wanted to ensure they were covered so his beloved Brittany wouldn’t be left with the burden of a final bill.

So although his bucket list was short, only four items, to Jerry and Brittany it was seemingly unattainable.

But then you came along.

A friend posted an item on FaceBook that became known as “Jerry’s Journey.” The four items were listed. You asked how you could help… where you could send a few dollars to help with the short list.

The first item on the list was quickly solved. The legal papers to ensure a safe, loving environment were executed and the largest concern Jerry had was put to rest. Brittany’s care was taken care of.

Next… you stepped up to provide for Jerry to visit “his boys” at The Wall. A trip was quickly planned and prayers that he would have the strength to make it there and back were said. The trip was conducted within days of the need being known. The picture accompanying this post is of Jerry as he slowly made his way from one end of The Wall to the other… stopping to rest his hand on each panel… to touch his boys one last time.

As requests to help came in, an account was established to help defray the cost of the headstone. And you didn’t take long. Just before departing to Washington DC, enough funds were received to cover the cost and installation of the stone. A call to the company, with an explanation of the short time frame involved, led them to rush the order. The headstone was in place when Jerry returned from his trip. Tired and weak, he still summoned the strength to visit his wife’s grave to place a bouquet of flowers.

This left just one item on his bucket list… his final expenses. He couldn’t expect more from strangers than they had already given. People he didn’t know… and would never have the opportunity to meet… coming through to help someone in their time of need. This final item weighed heavily on Jerry’s mind.

So once again, a plea for funds was posted about Jerry’s Journey. You had helped already, but would you… could you… help just a little more? Would you help Jerry spend what surely were his last few days without this one last burden? It was a lot to ask for someone you’d never know.

Jerry’s earthly journey ended this past Thursday… surrounded by those he loved… and as much at peace as we could make his last days. You allowed his time to be spent peacefully without worrying over minor items. He spent it with Brittany and those that he loved. And you showed him that, regardless of what is said in the news, the kindness of strangers… does still exist.

John Bunyan is quoted as saying “You have not lived until you have done something for someone who can never repay you.”

So you stranger… you that gave and helped Jerry pass peacefully… you have now lived.

And that’s MY take…

2 comments:

JesterBoy01 - I was blessed and honored to have met this same "stranger" you speak of, recently and I second your statement that the stranger has now lived!

... you captured so beautifully the goodness and love of SO MANY "strangers" that exist still today. I am honored and humbled to stand with and be a part of this group of "strangers" that reached out with prayer, thoughts, guidance, instruction and financial support that made Jerry's Journey easier for him. I am so grateful for each and every one of you, your lives and your hearts of love.

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