Jesse Neve learns to appreciate the small blessings in life.
Dad’s kindness reminded me to slow down and open my eyes to the blessings around me.
It was a hot August day. The kids were outside playing, so I decided to tackle the huge project of organizing the garage. My father, Richard (age 62 at the time), had been struggling with Alzheimer’s disease for 10 years, and he was in the garage “helping” me. He followed me around, moving things that I had just moved. He wanted to help, but he didn’t understand what we were trying to accomplish. Feeling my internal heat rising, I wanted to scream, “Leave things where I put them!” After about an hour of this, Papa wandered inside. Seeing his absence as a great opportunity, I raced around the garage, trying to do as much as possible before he reappeared. When he didn’t return right away, I began to wonder if I should check on him. But I was accomplishing so much in the garage without his “assistance.” After 15 minutes, he emerged, walking very slowly and carefully carrying a glass of water. Papa handed it to me and said, “I would have come back sooner, but I tried to figure out the ice machine on the fridge and that took a long time. You’ve been working so hard, you need a cool drink.” I melted. It was as if God was right there, saying, “See, Jess? He’s the same old Papa, thinking of his daughter and being kind. You need to be kind and thoughtful toward him, too.” My dad, who was struggling just to live normally day to day, still had so much to teach me about showing kindness and thinking of others well into his own battle. It’s really a tough disease, and it affects the whole family. I need God’s help to remind myself that Papa is doing the best he can, and to help me know when to slow down, step back and be thankful for the gifts that I have right in front of me.
Papa helps his granddaughter Sarah with her shoes (left) and joins the family in carving jack-o’-lanterns for Halloween (below).