“You Have No Idea!”

It’s now been three weeks and a day since I had my surgery. Someone asked how I felt this morning and I told them today when I woke up I already feel like you’ve been run over by three busses. But that’s better than the seven busses last week, or the twelve the week before that.

So, yes I am getting better, but even in the best scenarios this is a long climb out of a deep hole. I had no idea how much it takes for the body to heal the trauma caused by cutting my chest and my heart open. I am embracing the rest but wishing I had the energy to at least do some writing that I’m excited about. I just don’t have the stamina or focus for that yet. But I am getting better each day and it is a delight to notice something new every day that lets me know my heart is healing, my body is stronger and my mind is sharper. I’m grateful for that.

Take last night, for instance. My specialized heart surgery recovery team came by yesterday after school. You can see most of them pictured above, though it doesn’t include Sara or Julie. It’s always a joy to see them and nothing helps my heart more than spending time with them. Their dad was out of town so we took them to dinner afterward at one of their (and my!) favorite restaurants, Bandit’s in Thousand Oaks. As we were ordering I noticed a young couple sitting at a table behind Sara making goo-goo eyes at each other and doting over a one-year old sitting in a high chair at the end of the table. It was so sweet and I was touched by the love of that young family.

I pointed them out to Sara and suggested we pick up their check as a way to bless them. She agreed. It’s something we do now and then ever since I was involved in a fight for the check at an ice cream place in Framingham, MA twenty-five years ago. When our hosts pulled rank demanding to pay it, we decided to pay the check of a young couple on the other side of the restaurant as an act of surrender. The whole situation turned out to be hysterical and gracious all at the same time and we’ve laughed about for decades. So occasionally Sara and I do it for people God seems to put on our hearts, though it’s probably been a few years since we’d last done it.

But last night was different. I didn’t really feel like God nudged us to, I just wanted to as a way to celebrate their love for each other. So I told the waitress to bring me their check when they were done and I would pay it. She asked if I wanted to keep it anonymous, which we usually do, but this time I felt like saying that she didn’t have to. If they asked it was OK to tell them.

When they finished they got up to leave and walked by our table without even a glance. Surely they didn’t know. They must have gone to seek out the waitress however, because two minutes later that young mother walked up behind me and tapped me on the shoulder. I looked up startled and immediately she broke into tears. I stood up introduced myself and she hugged me whispering in my ear, “You have no idea! You have no idea!” She was right. I didn’t and it felt a bit awkward holding this young mother I didn’t know in the middle of the restaurant

When she collected herself she pulled back and asked me why. I told her I was so taken by how they were treating each other and we just wanted to bless them. “That little boy was in a hospital Sunday night with a 105 degree fever and we almost lost him.” She broke down crying again. Now I was tearing up. “You have no idea what this means to us, that someone knows.” I love that!

I told her I’d been in the hospital three weeks before with open-heart surgery and we laughed. I introduced her to Sara and Julie and off she went. I have no idea who she is, no name or number, but it was so cool watching Jesus love her through a very small act. Sara and I left the restaurant with our hearts soaring. How fun was it to be part of something like that and watch someone be loved by God without us having to tag it with our own graffiti? It was awesome. And Julie said her kids talked about it all the way home wanting to know why we did what we did and why that woman was crying and hugging grandpa!

And I recognized that I was outside my recovery enough to once again notice a bigger hand around me touching others. I love that. I don’t know anything more fun than finding a spontaneous way to love someone around me, even a stranger. I’m still so incredibly grateful for last night and so blessed that God let us be part of that couple’s story, if only for a night.

14 thoughts on ““You Have No Idea!””

  1. I love this kinda stuff so much!!! This is being church. Thank you for your example Wayne and family.

    Its beautiful 😉

  2. That is a beautiful story, Wayne! Thank you for sharing it.
    I am so happy that your recovery is continuing, and am praying that you can remain patient and calm through the process.
    God bless you!

  3. Christine Shapiro

    If we could just stop crying and catch our breath! As I (Chris) began to read this I immediately stopped and turned to Mark who was reading, I looked at him and he knew that I needed him to hear this. I read on and as my voice was shaking, his eyes were welling up. LOVE, it really is all about Love, We Love because He first loved us and the more we LIVE loved the more we get to love others. Thank you for living loved enough even through what you are going through the Jesus becomes the focus and His work in you blesses those he passes by you if even for a moment! We are reminded of how much He loves us and the privilege we get to love others, even if for a moment. Blessing! Wayne!!

  4. I am so encouraged by your story…it is so good to see God leading in your life and your obedience to His nudge! I trust you are feeling stronger by the day. Take it easy and rest in God’s ever present love and care!

  5. I love this story….such a simple act of kindness to complete strangers to you but not to our Father. It is amazing the power of moment or a notion. Thanks for sharing.

  6. You are one helluva guy. Thank you for being you and being such a tremendous example of what it means to reach out in love. Bless you!

  7. “…..heal the trauma caused by cutting my chest and my heart open” – WJ
    Wayne, your words jumped right off the page and into my own heart this morning — painting a picture of what it may look like when our hearts are being transformed by PERFECT LOVE. It occurs to me that when Truth transforms us, it requires rooting out lies that will rock our soul to a depth that is both healing and traumatic.
    I spent last year recovering from shoulder surgery on a torn rotator cuff, so I am familiar with the “fog” that seems to hover as we heal. In retrospect, I see it now as a glory cloud of protection, meant to keep us slowed down and positioned for a full healing and complete recovery. It is wonderful when we have those “see through” moments, like you did last night, to reassure us that we are on the mend and moving toward wholeness. I encourage you, my brother, to lean back and lean into His chest in those moments when the slowed-down-pace feels frustrating and you want to press on…..press in. His endless well will refresh you, and His limitless wisdom will expand you. I love your perspective….3 busses IS always better than seven! *Standing with you brother, love from the Jersey Shore! xoxo

    1. Thanks, Deborah! Father has been more than sufficient, more than gracious, more than present through all of this. Thanks for your encouragement and your prayers…

  8. As I read this piece and listened to some Christmas music the words of Sandi Patti’s song crossed my mind:
    The Father gave the Son
    The Son gave the Spirit
    The Spirit gives us life
    So we can give the Gift of love
    And the Gift goes on
    And the Gift goes on
    And the Gift goes on
    And the Gift goes on

    Don’t you love to get a present wrapped up in a Christmas bow
    God gave each of us a present on that night so long ago
    It’s a Gift that keeps on giving if our spirits can receive
    It’s the secret joy of living if our hearts can just believe

    Thanks for that wonderful story. My prayers are with you!

  9. Thank you for sharing the story. I got tears in my eyes. Hopefully there is a wave starting in our country of loving others. You actions are a great example for me and others.
    Thank you for sharing the trailer for the move, The Shack. I was spiritually impacted just watching the trailer.

  10. Thank you for sharing Wayne! I’m always pleasantly surprised and encouraged when I have had a connection with a complete stranger and then after I realize it was our Father living out His life through me to create that special moment.

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