A Simple Gesture
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A Simple Gesture

By: John Wayne Schlatter Submitted by Debra <[email protected]> 14 May 1998

Mark was walking home from school one day when he noticed the boy ahead of him had tripped and dropped all of the books he was carrying along with two sweaters, a baseball bat, a glove, and a small tape recorder.  Mark knelt down and helped the boy pick up the scattered articles.  Since they were going the same way, he helped to carry the burden. 

As they walked Mark discovered the boy's name was Bill, that he loved video games, baseball, and history, that he was having a lot of trouble with his other subjects and that he had just broken up with his girlfriend.  They arrived at Bill's home first and Mark was invited in for a Coke and to watch some t.v.  The afternoon passed pleasantly with a few laughs and some shared small talk, then Mark went home. 

They continued to see each other around school, had lunch together once or twice.  They ended up at the same High school where they had brief contacts over the years.  Finally the long awaited senior year came, and three weeks before graduation, Bill asked Mark if they could talk.  Bill reminded him of the day years ago when they had first met. 

"Do you ever wonder why I was carrying so many things from school that day?" asked Bill.  "You see, I cleaned out my locker because I didn't want to leave a mess for anyone else.  I had stored away some of my mother's pills and I was going home to commit suicide.  But after we spent some time together I realized that if I had, I would have missed that time and so many others that might follow.  So you see, Mark, when you picked up my books for me that day, you did a lot more.  You saved my life."

Debra's comments:

A friend forwarded the previous story to me, and while the story itself is different, the message is loud and clear - LOVE ONE ANOTHER.  The simple things in life are the things that make the most impact sometimes.  A smile, an opened door, an encouraging word.  Sometimes we get hung up thinking about what others will think of us for the beliefs that we have without realizing that there's someone out there that really wants to hear what we have to say, or that would just like for us to listen.   I can't tell you the number of times that I've simply sat and listened to someone that was distressed and had them walk away thanking me for being such a big help to them when I had done nothing.  Remember, we don't have to do anything grandiose in life to make an impact.  Just be sincere and those around you will sense it.  You will emanate God if He is the motive for your actions. In His Love, Debra

"The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams." -Eleanor Roosevelt

Comments by John Wayne Schlatter [email protected] - 19 Sep 2002

Hi Debra,

My name is John Wayne Schlatter and I wrote The Simple Gesture for Chicken Soup For The Soul Vol.1..

I feel complimented that you put in on the internet in an effort to help other people...You might like to know the whole story..

The two boys met in 1973 at Oak Jr. High where I was teaching.. they remained very close friends and were the best man in each others weddings.

When I met them they were my students, they became my friends and eventually we grew into a brotherhood....I spoke at both of their weddings. One is a minister and the other is a highly successful businessman.  They have come through many storms and their friendship has helped them sail to safe ports...

God Love Ya for Loving People...


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