A Gentle Man

His wife suggested that he ask his wife’s brother
about the death of Roger, the announcement of which
had come unexpectedly as there had been no hint

of illness and, besides, he wasn’t that old by today’s
standards. The brother-in-law knew the family well
and surely he would know. Roger had been on a tall

ladder changing a light bulb. No, this isn’t a joke
about how many Rogers it takes to change a light
bulb. It’s a sad story. He fell. Didn’t show for coffee

with the boys; they found him two hours later;
he lingered five days in intensive care before dying.
Roger was a gentle man. Sensitive to the plight of

others. He had been an ordained minister but was
so sensitive to the heart aches of his parishioners
that he spent too much time tending his own resultant

heart ache. He became a janitor in the public school
system. He was really good at staying around after
the kids left to wax the floor, clean the windows,

dust the shelves. In his spare time he loved to take
apart and put together computers. The parts had no
hearts to ache and it gave him great joy to see the

finished product and get it just right. He also read
at the public library — the daily paper, magazines on
technical things and theological musings. He loved

having coffee with a buddy or two discussing with
pride his wife, kids and grandkids, events of the day
and things about his church where he was an elder.

He had a dry wit without barbs. He caught the joke;
he saw the funny thing about existence. He would
pause, with his hands on the top of the broom, his chin

on his hands and he would watch the kids head up and
down the halls from one class to another and he would
say a silent prayer for them, his heart aching for them.

He was a gentle man.

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