Friday, April 27, 2012

Man Hugger

“Men greet each other with a sock on the arm, women with a hug, and the hug wears better in the long run.”

I heard a great story yesterday, a wonderful story that brought tears to my eyes for its touching simplicity told to me by a good friend during lunch.  This friend, Bill, described a current situation which I know is typical for him in how he lives his life.  In the short time I have known Bill, he has been a shining example to me of how one should go about the business of serving humanity by walking the walk, so to speak, rather than talking the talk.  He has run, for example, huge charitable events generating hundreds of thousands of dollars and given untold hours of his time to help others through church-related activities and serving as a guardian Ad Litem in Manatee county. 

Bill’s brother is dying of cancer of the pancreas.  Bill flew from Florida to visit with his brother in February when he first heard the news.  During that visit, he and his brother had a conversation which I hope I am able to describe in substance if not in exact words.  It went something like this; Bill asked his brother if their parents had ever told him they loved him.  His brother said no.  Bill said that they had never told him that either, then he looked directly into his brother’s eyes and told him he loved him.  He didn’t stop there.   He asked his brother if their parents had ever hugged him.  The brother said no.  Bill said they hadn’t hugged him either, but he wanted to hug his brother right there and then.  His brother mumbled something to the effect that he wasn’t quite ready for that.  It didn’t stop Bill.  He walked over to his brother and gave him a hug, then stepped back and looked into the man’s eyes and told him once again that he loved him.  As I sat there and listened to the story, I thought about how many times in my own life I had just done the man thing, allowing such situations to just slip by avoiding the unease of leaving a comfort zone, letting my brain overrule the feelings in my heart. 

But the story doesn’t end there.  His brother’s daughters have recently joyously told Bill, who is going back to visit with his brother again next week, how their father has become a hugger.  Since Bill’s visit, his brother hugs anyone and everyone who visits him, an epiphany in the life of a dying man.

Thanks Bill.  Hugs to you.

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