Night Watch

A nurse took the tired, anxious serviceman to the bedside. "Your son is here," she said to the old man. She had to repeat the words several times before the patient's eyes opened. Heavily sedated because of the pain of his heart attack, he dimly saw the young man in the uniform standing outside the oxygen tent. He reached out his hand. The Marine wrapped his toughened fingers around the old man's limp ones, squeezing a message of love and encouragement. The marine sat alongside the bed.

All through the night, the young Marine sat there in the poorly lighted ward, holding the old man's hand and offering him words of love and strength.

Whenever the nurse came into the ward, the Marine was oblivious of her and of the night noises of the hospital. Now and then she heard him say a few gentle words. The dying man said nothing, only held tightly to his son all through the night.

Along towards dawn, the old man died. The Maine placed the lifeless hand he had been holding and went to tell the nurse. She started to offer words of sympathy, but the Marine interrupted her. "Who was that man?" he asked. The nurse was startled. "He was your father." The Marine replied, "I never saw him before in my life." "Then why didn't you say something when, I took you to him?" "I knew right away there had been a mistake but I also knew he needed his son, and his son wasn't there. When I realized that he was too sick to tell whether or not I was his son, I knew how much he needed me. I stayed."

I should like to be there in the morning of the resurrection. The old man will no longer have a worn-out body. He will have a perfect body. And I can just feel the joy and love that will flow between him and the Marine Lieutenant because that night the Lieutenant loved the way the Savior loves.

He did not ask what the old man was going to do for him if he stayed. He saw in front of him a fellow human being who was sad and lonely. He gave to him a full measure of concern, encouragement and comfort.

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