Today my Christian mentor and I officiated a memorial service for a local Latino family who’d requested we perform the service in their home for financial reasons. The same home were the husband had been murdered and the wife had been shot in both arms and head by the same perpetrator, she however survived. She, her adult aged children and their families were in attendance for the service. 

The entire family was holding up pretty well considering all they’d been through. The service was extremely peaceful and the message was being well received. During an extremely vital part of the message about forgiveness (even for the murderer) one of the daughters broke down and began crying. I immediately reached into the inside breast pocket of my sport coat and retrieved a crisp clean handkerchief and presented it to the daughter. She began wiping away tears & preventing her nose from running with it.

As the message of forgiveness continued (the daughters tears did too) I reflected on how important this part of the message was; they needed to hear about forgiveness early in the grieving process so they could each free themselves of the enslaving burden un-forgiveness brings. Only through Jesus is such grace even possible.

When the service concluded, the family graciously thanked us. We invited them to connect with our church family and then we left them so they could continue the celebration of their husband and father’s life. 

Carrying a handkerchief was passed down to me by the men in my family. Whether it be a kerchief (bandana) used by my Pap Paw while working the fields, a nice linen handkerchief when dressed for church or even a biker inspired kerchief carried by Dad. Today I was shown how the chivalrous passing of a handkerchief to a grieving daughter can represent the love of Jesus;  a stranger and a handkerchief, no words needed, just a gesture of kindness, compassion and understanding interpreted in any nationality.

Robert De Niro’s character in the 2015 film, The Intern, brought to light the need for men to carry handkerchiefs; even Anne Hathaway’s character by the end of the movie ultimately requests her husband to begin carrying one.

Add a handkercheif to your essentials list; you never know when the opportunity will arise for you to share it along with the good news of Jesus.

As for my handkerchief; it remains with the daughter. Hopefully it’ll serve as a reminder of how two strangers with servants hearts were there during one of her must vulnerable times loving on her and her family.

Besides; a true gentleman never asks a lady to return his handkerchief.

Gene Williams 

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