Crying Over Spilled Milk

It was fajitas and a hamburger at Chili’s on that first one back in 1996- you know Chili’s- the restaurant for lovers.

It was fajitas and a hamburger at Chili’s on that first one back in 1996- you know Chili’s- the restaurant for lovers. “Always date each other,” we were told, so I just assumed everyone else did. At least once a week, almost religiously, for 20 years Tiffanni and I have dated. Chili’s, ball games, picnics, food courts, movies, ballets, drive-ins, state parks, the theater, concerts, day drives, Christmas light looking, lakes, malls, lots of dang malls [sigh], Walmarts, skating rinks, museums, we dated. It was always my job to be the date planner. I think I assumed the role and went with it. I need variety and choices by personality, so dates were always an adventure. From geo-caching at a state park to an NHL Hockey game on our first anniversary (not sure what I was thinking), a random adventure was always a possibility.

Dates have changed a little lately. We still do them, but the random has turned in to the routine. Not out of boredom or laziness, but out of simplicity and necessity. There are only so many things that you can do with our mobility challenges, and quite possibly, I think we turned old overnight. So Fridays are Date Days and it’s Dairy Queen and a movie. Not some Fridays, every Friday. Dairy Queen offers the convenience of close proximity to the movies (where we get our variety) and Tiffanni loves the chicken fingers. To be honest, I eat the average food to get to dessert. We love our blizzards.

A few weeks ago we were at Dairy Queen and a couple of older ladies noticed us. I thought they were staring because I was feeding Tiffanni each bite (which is pretty common- both), but finally one looked at me and said, “Is your name Jeremy?” I responded with, “Yes”, to which they began to tell me about their church that I happened to preach in a few months before. They said they enjoyed it, but really, is there anything else that you could say sitting at the next table at Dairy Queen? “Listen Jeremy, you’re going to have to step it up. You can’t exegete scripture very well and you need some help closing- like do it a lot sooner.” So we chatted about the church and my family. Eventually, as old people do, they asked the inevitable question. “If you don’t mind me asking, what’s wrong with Tiffanni?”

The truth is that I don’t mind people asking. I don’t really care what their motives are, nosiness or concern, I’ll answer. So I told them about Huntington’s Disease which neither of them had heard of before. “It’s an ugly neurodegenerative disorder that affects movement, mood, and cognition.” We talked a bit more and heard several additional, “Bless your hearts,” and continued our meal. Finally the big payoff came and they delivered our blizzards. The best part of the whole day. My mouth watered as they turned the blizzard upside down to show me how secure and cold it was. I always think, “Just put it down. If it falls out we’re going to have to sit here while you go make another one.” They placed Tiffanni’s oreo blizzard in front of her and my salted caramel truffle blizzard in front of me. My stomach growled and my taste buds pulsed. Just as I picked up the spoon, I heard the inevitable words from behind me, “Would you mind if we prayed for you?”

Look, I’m a preacher. I always want prayer, but something about the white hair and buns told me that this wasn’t going to be a short, “God bless them.”

“Sure,” I said. And they gathered around our table and placed their hands on us. And they prayed. And they prayed some more. And they kept praying. It wasn’t loud, but it was long. So long. Tears, tongues, and taking turns, they covered everything that you can think of. When they ran out of English, they didn’t run out of praying. I get it. Some people have to do something. Some people have to try to help alleviate our pain or their own emotional dissonance. In my world it’s usually prayer. Sometimes it’s more tangible things, but people do stuff. They have to.

After what felt like forever, the ladies wiped their tears, wrapped their grandmother arms around us, and said, “Goodbye, we’ll be praying for you.” And in my most human of moments, I looked down at the table and noticed my own tear well up in my eye. The result of our prayer, two melted puddles of blizzard.

27 Comments for “Crying Over Spilled Milk”

says:

And now I am a pile of tears, sitting at my desk at work, on hold, with a Deaf person looking at me on a video screen wondering if the hold music is really that emotive.

This is so beautiful, buddy.

Thanks for writing and letting us in.

And will you bring me a blizzard next Friday? Unmelted. Double reese cup. Thanks.

Becky George

says:

I should have known not to read this in front of people but I did. On my lunch break this blog pops up. I start reading, totally forgetting the other women at the table talking to me. Then I hit the floor laughing when I get to the part about the women and their very long prayers. I couldn’t help it. My boss said what’s so funny? I said oh my hilarious pastor friend made a crack about some long winded praying ladies. Then they laughed. Never know. They might subscribe and come to love this weekly blog as much as the rest of us do.
You and Tiff never ever cease to amaze me.
Keep the blog going.
We love it!

says:

I read this while watching my kids play in the tub so they wont be stinky kids for District council. They are always nosey and want to know what im reading and why im so teary-eyed. You have such a way of moving me with your words every single time!!! Each time I read your blogs I cant help but think of your song You are faithful. He has been so faithful and so have you.

Diane Jones

says:

THANK YOU. Please keep blogging… As you know (or maybe you don’t – lol). I have been in the church since 1990. I “know” the history. I remember the first time I really noticed Tiff. She was singing at the Old Kingwood Church. Maybe she was about 14 or 15 or so. And Glenda.. She was still coming to church sitting on the front pew and not yet in a wheel chair. Sigh.. I love you guys (now that you do know). I have a sticky note with Tiff’s name on it taped to my computer monitor at work and when I notice it, I pray. Thank you for sharing your story Jer… Thank you. <3 Oh… is it time for lasagna again? I will make you some soon.

Tim Johnston

says:

Good stuff old friend! I know you have heard this before, but thank you for sharing your family story with the world. You guys are in my thoughts and prayers.

Pamela Conville

says:

Chronic disease is a blessing, a gut wrenching heart ache, life robbing, embarrassing, frustrating, and best of all it brings you face to face with God on a most dirty gritty level.

So you find the little things that you know God answered the prayers spoken In your name. When everyone else still sees the disease, I see every little thing God does to make it bearable just when I’ve had about all I can take God shows His love and grace. I know all those prayers are being answered – not in the way everyone else thinks they should be, but just right for me at that moment.

Letting others in to the nitty gritty is hard, but I think God needs us to so others can see His amazing love and grace.

So thank you for sharing. I know it’s hard, so thank you.

Missy Holcombe

says:

I just wanted to tell you that your comment blessed me and was a great reminder as I journey through the world of Alzheimer’s with my husband. I had a very unpleasant morning and your words were comforting and right on time! Thank you and God bless!

Matt Baker

says:

Dude. So powerful. For a long time I’d get hostile over people wanting to pray with Paige and I over infertility. As dumb as that may sound, angry over prayer, part of me felt deeply agitated at what were likely well meaning prayers. Like, it’s as if it hit me like, “there’s something wrong with you, we want to take that to God for you”. Overtime my heart has softened and even now, reading this, It softens more realizing I may have missed out on some encouraging moments. Thanks for sharing, Jeremy.

Pam Webber

says:

I love blizzards and would cry if mine melted. But the image of elderly ladies praying over you and crying and praying some more and crying, warms my heart. You are loved. God bless you both. You are champions!!!

Steph Simmons

says:

Note to self: quit reading these while at work! There are now tears on my keyboard. LOL Seriously, I love you guys. And I love how God used those precious ladies to pray and pray and pray for you all, right there in Dairy Queen. We won’t know how much those prayers have influenced us until we get to the other side of the veil. Thanks for being so open and so real. Hug Tiff for me!

Missy Holcombe

says:

Jeremy, you are such a blessing! Your words always help put things into perspective. After an unpleasant morning with an Alzheimer’s issue, I read this and was reminded how God always gives us just what we need when we need it. It just doesn’t always look how we think it should. Call me the next time your ice cream melts! 😃 I love to drink it!

Katye

says:

The last time I was at that Dairy Queen the ice cream DID fall in mom’s lap and on her purse. “UMMM HELLLOOO” I’m sure you can imagine her saying this

says:

This is my first time here and reading your blog, so you may have already addressed this. My mother in law passed away this November after a sudden diagnosis of Hunninton’s (woman hated doctors and hadn’t seen one in more than 10 years despite us trying to get her to go… ) We don’t know yet if my ex husband has it or not yet, but he is going through the counseling to get tested. My question is, have you had your children tested for it or are y’all waiting to do so?! My son is 15 and a freshman in high school and just learned in great detail exactly what Hunninton’s is in his Biology class. We had explained what we had quickly learned about it after we were told his Nana had it, but we didn’t have the knowledge about it like the Bio teacher did. He is one to hold things close to his chest but finally talked to me about it and admitted that he didn’t know if he wanted to find out if he had it or not if his father’s test came back positive. I as his mother am struggling with this because I want to know. I want us to be able to have a plan in place in his future if this is something we know we will eventually have to deal with. We are having a lot going on in our lives as it is with my own injury that happened at the end of January that will have long reach physical repercussions to myself and I struggle with adding stress to him by wanting him to take the test. At this point I feel like my only option is to keep praying….some times I feel like that’s all I do…….. advice or insights would be so great! Thank you in advance and God bless you and yours.

Jeremy Sims

says:

Oh Samantha, I’m so sorry to hear. Huntington’s is an ugly disease. The test isn’t offered to people under 18 for the reasons you mention above. It’s just too hard psychologically. Since it usually doesn’t manifest until mid 30s, there is some time for your son and some hope. There are some very promising research happening right now including human trials on a drug that will reverse and repair the gene. My children are under 12, so that’s my solace for now. I know that you want to know, I’ve debated it for years too. But I decided that it would be my children’s decision when it was time. Who knows, maybe that changes, but that’s where I am today. I hate this for your family. I hate this disease. If you ever need an extra ear, I’d be glad to listen.

says:

I’m here. Listening. Praying silently across the miles, hoping your dessert and your heart get to be solid, but knowing you two navigate puddles with style. I love your heart, your willingness to write true. Amazed that you are willing to open the door a crack.

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