“Are you going to be at our group’s meeting on Tuesday?” Mik called to ask me.
“I’m planning on it,” I replied. “Perhaps we can take some time after the meeting to catch up?”
“That would be great!” he said. “I have a lot to tell you because it’s been a few weeks since we’ve talked. I’m looking forward to our chat.”
I needed to wrestle a couple of alligators snapping at my business so we didn’t get together until two days later. Mik understood, because he’d been wrestling relationship alligators for several years — and a lot recently. I knew a little about what he’d been struggling with, but I had no idea that he’d just stared down the biggest “snapper” any of us will ever face and had won.
I’ll share a little about Mik’s story and our conversation so you’ll understand.
Mik sat directly across from me when we met and looked right into my eyes.
“You know most of my friends have been telling me I’m nuts for helping my ex-wife,” he said.
About three years ago, Mik’s then-wife decided she didn’t want to be married to him anymore. Soon thereafter, she began to date her high school sweetheart from more than 30 years ago. That caused them to split, as you can imagine!
Then, not long ago, Mik received a call from his ex-wife’s current man-friend telling him that she’d just been admitted to a hospital, in an adjoining state, as a result of a heart attack and that she was likely not going to live. Could Mik put any hard feelings aside so he could help his ex-wife in her time of need?
“You know, I did it!” Mik said. “I dropped everything and traveled to the hospital to hold her hand. And, she lived! I even drove her home and I’ve been spending the last few weeks nursing her back to health in her house. My friends told me I shouldn’t help! But you know? We have history together and we were married for more than 20 years. How could I not help her in her time of need?”
I returned Mik’s gaze and saw more than warm, moist eyes looking back. Many people think that charity is some spare change that you give a stranger out of pity. But Mik’s eyes, and actions, give it another, deeper meaning.
Charity is giving your personal, pure love to others. It means when someone else has hurt you directly, face-to-face, right to the core, you still serve them and show uncorrupted, unconditional love and caring. That’s the definition of charity I saw first-hand shining through Mik’s eyes.
“You’re an amazing person!” I said with reverence.
After all, I had been in a pit wrestling a business alligator while Mik had stared down, and wrapped his arms around, the proverbial jaws of a monster snapper! I’ll never forget his ability to conquer personal pain, disappointment and sorrow, simply because it’s the right thing to do for another human being!
Mik has shown you and me “How Charity Wins!”
Lynn Butterfield lives in Erda and is a managing broker for a real estate company.