Yet, He Came!


A photographer captured the moment and forever froze it in my mind. The image stands as a testament as to how ‘action’ speaks so much louder than words. It was 1974 and I was participating in the state wrestling finals which was held many miles from my hometown. I had just been badly beaten by my opponent and my season and wrestling career was essentially over. I sat in the stands with my head down and tears coming down my cheeks when I felt his arm on my shoulder. It was my older brother, Doug, offering words of comfort and encouragement. He had driven the distance and taken the time to come and support me in my quest for a championship that was now out of my reach.

Later I found out through my mother,  that my brother had not only come, but he had given up a days wages to be there. I knew he was financially tight. As a young married man he already had a wife and several children to support. Yet, he came! What did that mean to me and what message did it send to a younger brother?  Well, it is over 40 years later and I can’t think of this experience without tears welling up in my eyes because his support that day spoke loudly of his love and concern for me. He had not just wished me luck and gone on his way. He had paid a price to be there in attendance.

When I see this photo, I remember the anguish of losing that day, and I am reminded that, there he is, clearly listening to me and being attentive to his younger brother. He came! The wages he lost can never be earned again, but what he bought that day, for me, was a sweet memory of a brother that cared enough to be there in my moment of triumphant, or the agony of my defeat.

Life is full of small opportunities to share sweet moments with our loved ones. But in order to capture them we must be there so that our loved ones can see us and joyously say, “He came!” I don’t know if my brother even remembers coming to this important event in my early life but it doesn’t really matter. Because for me, it was important. For me it was ‘one moment in time!’ For me it is a memory forever made with a brother who came!

Many years ago the singer songwriter Harry Chapin, in his moving song, “Cats in the Cradle”,  told the story of a father who never seemed to find time for his son. Later in life and now retired the father now had time and wanted to spend it with his now grown son. His son would repeatedly and politely refuse his father’s offer to spend time together because he was too busy. After one such phone conversation the father sadly mused:

“And as I hung up the phone it occurred to me, he’d grown up just like me. My boy was just like me.”

Time is a commodity, and precious moments abound, yet, they pass quickly in the night. If we are not careful we can be left with regrets. We don’t want to find ourselves,  like the ten virgins, knocking on a closed door only to hear from our loved ones inside:

“I say unto you, I know you not.” (Matthew 25:2)


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