A Surprising Tenderness

By Sydney Gay



There were two interesting men in my neighborhood: Will was addicted to alcohol, he sneered when spoken to, argued over small things, his children were unhappy and his wife look worried. The other neighbor, Sam, remains more deeply in my mind. A good-humored man with seven children, his legs had been crushed in WWII. Both his feet were missing, he lived in his wheelchair, but was the happiest, most friendly person. His wife adored him.

One day I asked, “Sam, how do you do it? Your kids love you, and your wife loves you. How come you are doing so well?”

And he replied “I’ve seen the worst of wars.”

“What kind of wars?”

“Terrible ones, there’s always a war somewhere.”

“What happened? What did you see?”

“I don’t want to offend you.”

“Please Sam, I need to know.”

“Soldiers told two hundred of us to dig a grave. When we finished they told us to stand at the edge, they laughed, sliced off a few heads with machetes, shot us down with guns, a fiery death for all, then God, and this is not easy to understand, God lifted us up, we felt no pain, all of us were raised up out of that grave,  we were embraced by love so full of love, all I know is we were hugging, kissing, dancing in Heaven and God was there. No one was left behind.”

“How can that be?”

Sam went silent, he closed his eyes for a minute of silence when he spoke again his eyes were filled with a diamond-like brilliance. “God separated us from the enemy in a way the enemy could not see. I witnessed this, but I don’t have words to explain it, a moment came when I returned to Earth, only me, the others remained. I was sent back to bring the message.”

“You came back like Jesus Christ?”

“It felt more like Spiderman. Remember Spiderman?  Peter Parker and Connor? Connor was the enemy, but who won the battle? A little ole’ spider. Remember David and Goliath? Who won?” I tell you God is not what you might think, there is more to this than meets the eye.”

“But your feet...they’re gone.”

“I walk in a different way now.”


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