How to Really Touch Someone’s Life

“The workings of the human heart are the profoundest mystery of the universe. One moment they make us despair of our kind, and the next we see in them the reflection of the divine image.”
-Charles W. Chesnutt

This week has been a week of reflection for me. As you know from one of my earlier posts, my best friend Terri’s father-in-law died on Monday night. The service to honor his life isn’t until Saturday.

I’ve written the funeral program.

We’ve made all the copies.

The food has been ordered for the dinner after the service.

The music that’s being played during the Visitation is being downloaded and burnt onto CD as we speak.

I’ve hugged his grieving wife.

I’ve prayed for comfort for the family.

And still, I can’t figure out why this one’s hitting me so hard. This one should be like a friend-of-a-friend, not a family member.

Is it because my Dad’s been gone for a little over two years and I miss him dearly? Is it because as I watch this generation go to their final resing place I know that I’m next?

All this reflecting has made me more than a wee bit sentimental. I find myself tearing up at weird times and in weird places. The UPS Store, for instance.

This week has been a grand opportunity for me to let Terri know how much she means to me. She’s the friend I sat next to in 9th grade Social Studies class and ate pizza and pumpkin pie with at overnights at her house. The one who never took her make-up off but never got a zit. She’s the one who shows up when I’m in a bind no matter what’s she’s got going or how inconvenient it is for her.

She’s the one who holds my heart.

She’s been touching my life for the last 35 years. We’ve had 6 babies collectively, married 2 amazing guys, each run our own businesses, leaned on each other through numerous ‘child’ crises, celebrated at our children’s weddings and now we’re watching each other’s grandchildren grow up. We’ve fallen apart and gotten back up, together.

Time has been our friend. Terri has been the continuous thread of my life. She shows up. She listens. She never judges. And she always tells me the truth, even when I would rather not hear it.

That is how you really touch someone’s life. You show up. You listen. You tell the truth and you leave the judging for God.

And it’s not done through an email or on facebook. Touching someone’s life for real takes being there, in person. For the good times and the bad. At weddings, but as Rudy Guilliani wrote in his book “Leadership”, especially at funerals.


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