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.

Country - - CONTENTS - BY JESSE NEVE Min­netrista, Minnesota

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).

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