I lost my friend Mark to cancer a few years ago.
I liked a lot of things about Mark -- his soft-spoken manner, his easy laugh, his sense of adventure, his willingness to try new things, his zest for life. But above all, the thing I admired most was Mark's ability to let go of a hurt and move on.
Mark had a friend named Bill, and every so often the two of them would get together for lunch. One day when they were to meet, Bill never showed. So Mark had lunch alone.
The sad thing was that when Bill realized he had missed lunch, he failed to call his friend and apologize. So Mark was a bit miffed.
When Mark saw Bill, he said, "Say, Bill, what happened to our lunch?"
Bill shrugged and said he had forgotten.
Mark said, "But you didn't call."
Bill replied, "Yeah, I know, but I got busy."
With that brush-off, Mark said, "Well, I'm angry about that. You should have called."
Again Bill defended his actions.
At this point I could see things weren't headed in a happy direction, so I jokingly said, "Okay, you two. You guys know you love each other. So Bill, tell Mark, 'I love you, Mark.'"
Bill looked at me a little askance (men don't say "I love you" to their friends). Then he got this big childlike grin on his face and said, "I love you, Mark."
Without hesitation, Mark smiled and said, "I love you, Bill." And the incident was over. From that moment on, I believe Mark never looked back on that missed engagement.
Addendum: Over the next year as Mark was struggling with his illness, Bill would frequently say, "I love you, Mark." Mark would get a grin on his face and respond, "I love you, Bill."
Check out Doris’ latest books, “The Boy Whose Idea Could Feed the World,” “The Parent Teacher Discussion Guide,“ and “Thin Becomes You” at Doris’ web page: http://www.doriswildhelmering.com.
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