Home > Uncategorized > i made the call

i made the call

A couple of days ago, I made the call I had promised myself I would make one year later.  The only reason I remembered was because I put it on my iCal.  Sometimes it does pay to do clerical due diligence.The call originated out of a discussion I had with “Awesome Man.” 

Patti and I, Michael and Kathy, the Awesome Man and his Awesome Daughter were having a beer and a bite before we caught our flight home.  The day before, Awesome Daughter and Awesome Man had lain to rest the beloved mother and faithful wife of 35-plus years.  Her long battle with cancer had finally subsided and her new life began.  We were there to support, love, and care with the other thousands of friends and family.

I knew I wanted to ask the question before Awesome Man sat down.  I had spent the better part of the previous evening (after the funeral) watching his interactions with his girls.  When I say girls, I mean GIRLS.  To say that Awesome Man had lived in a sea of estrogen is an understatement.

His Joy gave him 3 gorgeous daughters, but she also surrounded herself with some of the strongest women who have ever walked the planet.  Sisters, aunts, and bold friends – all more than qualified to sit at the table on The View – weigh in on this family like velvet steamrollers.  Opinions and suggestions fall like the icy waters of Niagara.

Awesome Man had to bring his “A” game every damn day!  I’m thinking, one mistake and he’s nothing more than a greasy spot on the street!

I liked him instantly.  Classy, smart, and driven – a low-handicap golfer who appreciates good whiskey in a proper glass.  Serious, but inwardly chilled.  It all made perfect sense now. 

Awesome Daughter must have inherited those tiny feet and hands from him.  He was the reason she was so comfortably secure in all her drama and audacious silliness, but at the same time carries so much favor and beloved charm. It almost doesn’t seem fair that one person (or people like her) can carry so much irresistibility and predisposed talent to build and enhance whatever they touch.

I watched a very tired Awesome Man try to be present, but the wheels were already turning for what was ahead.  I surmised that there were some hard days ahead, but you’d rarely see him wear it.  This sucker was a stud, and little would affect his character or demeanor.  Let me say it once more:  I liked him instantly.

It was risky – and I didn’t want to be calloused or presumptuous – but I took a chance anyway.  Just as he bit into the sandwich he’d ordered, I asked, “Awesome Man (except I called him by his real name), I’m sitting here with my wife.  Michael is sitting there with his wife.  Knowing what you know today, and having gone through what you’ve just gone through, what advice would you give two men who still have their wives?  How can we love them better?”

He chewed a couple more seconds, swallowed, took a swig from his glass and simply said,

“Don’t miss anything… especially the small stuff.  Notice the little things that she does.  Laugh when it’s silly, pay attention when she’s sad, but don’t ignore her.  See her.  Really see her.”

There was a lump in my throat.  I didn’t want tears at this table.  Not today.  Not now.  So, I grabbed Patti’s hand under the table and squeezed.  I just wanted to be home, and alone, so I could tell and show her how much I love her.

“Awesome Man,” I asked, “Is it ok that I call you back in a year to see what you might have to say about what I’ve just asked you?”  “Of course,” he said, “I’m up for it.”

That was it.  We hugged Awesome Man, kissed Awesome Daughter, and headed to the airport. 

I don’t remember there being a lot of conversation in the car.  We were all thinking.  Processing.  Readjusting.

So, today is the anniversary of that day.  A casual call to Awesome Man a couple days ago found him wheeling through a Krispe Kreme to pick up a batch of fried dough for some friends’ needed consumption.  We talked as he waited in the drive-thru line.  He wanted the low-down on all my “stuff” and, as usual, he wanted to know what state Ms. Patti could be found in today: Georgia, Colorado, or Texas?  The drive-thru line was stalled, so I went there.

“Awesome Man, do you remember the question I asked you at that table last year?”  He remembered.  “The part about how to love my wife better?  Well, it’s been a year.  How do you answer that today?”

There was no hesitation.  It was as if he’d been thinking about a response for a while.  Then it dawned on me that he has had some alone time.  Probably way more than he cared for.

“Yeah… two things. 

Don’t sweat the small stuff.  What I mean by that is, don’t get crossways with her regarding things that aren’t really that important.  You’ve got enough big things to struggle against together.  Let that small stuff remain small.”

Yeah, that’s good.  I remembered that he had used the word “small” when I originally asked him this question.  But this time it charted a new tributary.

Then the intensity changed.  He said,

“Touch her.  Pull her to you.  Grab her hand.  Touch her hair.  Rub her shoulders.  Don’t paw her because you want something from her.  Enjoy the fact that she is right there within your reach.  Smell her hair.  Notice her lines.  Touch her because you can.  That is what I miss.  That is the stuff that keeps me awake at night.  I miss touching and talking to my friend.”

This second part was more solemn and serious.  What he told me had been marinated in an unresolved ache.  I knew that God was talking through Awesome Man to me.  I was wearing a new batch of tears to confirm it.

A few hours after that call, I shared this story with a younger buddy of mine who is also married to a lovely lady.  He’s a man’s man, through and through.  His response was accurate:  “Wow, that’s serious stuff right there!”

It is serious stuff. 

I married very young.  It took a long time (too long) for me to grow up.  In today’s relevant vernacular, I was a classic douche bag.  But I have tried to put away childish things over our 35 years together, and I still want to be serious about Awesome Man’s counsel.  More importantly, I would like to think that my Awesome Girl knows just how serious I am about this.

I don’t want to just show up for the big stuff.  Anybody can do that.  Anybody can be a hero with the big shit. 

Buying someone crap doesn’t forge love.  Being a sugar daddy don’t make you daddy. 

People of depth see through that nonsense in a millisecond.  If that’s the best you’ve got, you’re so hosed.

What about the daily need, the daily desire, or the everyday love that touches and tells when no one else is looking?  That is what matters.  And that is what I think Awesome Man was pointing to.

I believe there is a lesson to be learned here for every one of us.  Awesome Man’s counsel is relevant to all of our meaningful relationships.

There is no excuse for not paying attention to the PEOPLE who are most important in our lives. We have too many excuses for our isolation.  It’s just not necessary.

Guys, stop bringing your heartless body to the house!  Stop trying to fix your communicative retardation with trinkets and flowers.  Show some consideration and interest in what she’s got going on.

The instruction is, “as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her” (Ephesians 5:25).  As my buddy said, it’s serious.  Jesus wasn’t much of a taker.  He didn’t play games with people so he could have what he wanted.  He came to serve.

Thanks Awesome Man.

I heard you.


Categories: Uncategorized
  1. matthewlasnyder
    November 1, 2012 at 7:17 am

    This is absolutely incredible. Moved me to tears because I know these folks. Love ya, Mike! Now I’m gonna go hug my wife…

    • November 1, 2012 at 7:19 am

      That’s why I told the story. Smart man. xo

  2. November 1, 2012 at 7:44 am

    damn. i didn’t think i’d be crying before 8am today. wow, there is infinite treasure stored up in every word. so very good. i think i’ll read it many more times. proud of you for living this way and inviting other to do the same. man, i want to live like this. experience the fullness and engage in the gifts of life everyday. thank you for sharing. love you.

    • November 1, 2012 at 7:47 am

      That was my goal: Make Lortzie cry by lunchtime. ; ) Love you baby. xo

  3. Logan
    November 1, 2012 at 7:46 am

    I believe this story alone has power to change an entire marriage. I’m gonna go hug my wife too.

    • November 1, 2012 at 7:49 am

      Lucky you! You married a queen! xo

  4. November 1, 2012 at 8:34 am

    I’d venture to say that this is the best blog post you’ve written–on many levels.

    • November 1, 2012 at 8:37 am

      Thanks Dude. I’ve watched. You’re a good man, husband, and dad.

  5. November 1, 2012 at 9:16 am

    Love you big. So grateful for all the awesome dads in my life!

  6. Cole
    November 1, 2012 at 9:19 am

    By far – best blog you’ve ever written, Dad! I am thankful for you, Awesome Daughter, and Awesome Man! I’m going to hug Stevie and Gracie a little tighter today. Love you!

    • November 1, 2012 at 9:58 am

      Thanks baby. I owe you more than I can say. xo

  7. Ebony Davis
    November 1, 2012 at 9:44 am

    Omg, this has really touched me. Although I”m the wife, I will be doing this in my relationship.

  8. November 1, 2012 at 9:52 am

    found your blog through Awesome Daughter. Fantastic post, and fantastic writing.

  9. November 1, 2012 at 9:55 am

    Just crying over here at my desk. So, so very good. Thanks for writing this. Love you.

  10. Teresa Mosley
    November 1, 2012 at 9:58 am

    Hi Mike. This is Teresa Robinett from McGregor. Your post is amazing! Actually, it’s my favorite you’ve written since I started following your blog a little over a year ago. I so wish every young couple could read this and take it to heart! Love and blessings to you and your family!

    • November 1, 2012 at 10:06 am

      Hey Teresa. Great to hear from you! Thanks! Same to you!

  11. November 1, 2012 at 10:08 am


  12. November 1, 2012 at 10:14 am

    Mike this is awesome! BTW, this is your canvas to paint on. I read a lot of books, articles, and blogs – your stuff always ranks near the top. You’re a story teller, you’re a writer…

    • November 1, 2012 at 11:24 am

      Thanks Michael. That means a lot.

  13. sara choe
    November 1, 2012 at 10:28 am

    so many awesome people and their awesome wisdom. thank you.

  14. Kathy
    November 1, 2012 at 10:39 am

    Wowza! So good! Life is truly too short……may I continue to learn to LOVE well! Love ya and so thankful for you and Patti! Thanks to Awesome Dad, Joy and Awesome Daughter for allowing us to peek in and glean! Love them!!

  15. C Buck
    November 1, 2012 at 10:56 am

    wow, bringing some fresh water to my eyeballs today sir. Thanks

  16. Awesome Dad
    November 1, 2012 at 11:00 am

    Talk to you next year ( and many times sooner.).
    Love to all.

    Awesome Dad.

  17. November 1, 2012 at 11:03 am

    I’m absolutely positive the Lord’s telling me some things about the relationships that are in my life and I’m no where near married. today just became about being present in a new way – presently aware of and appreciating the soul-deep friendships I have and intentionally letting those people know how dear they are to me, soaking up every minute I get with them. thanks 🙂

  18. D Ho
    November 1, 2012 at 11:04 am

    My eyes are very watery right now. Thank you for sharing. Love ya!

  19. kathrynecearbaugh
    November 1, 2012 at 11:06 am

    This is so important! Thanks for the wake up. I love your heart…and your Awesome Girl.

    • November 1, 2012 at 11:28 am

      Thanks Kat. Love you two! xo

  20. Andrea Gosselin
    November 1, 2012 at 11:09 am

    Thank you so much for writing this. It’s such a powerful reminder to see, appreciate and care for what’s right in front of us. So good. Love you,.

    • November 1, 2012 at 11:29 am

      Love you Miss Gosselin! xoxo

  21. robin lane (hindes)
    November 1, 2012 at 11:31 am

    I read this post because Kathy Hindes recommended it!!! No wonder it was touching and thoughtful..

  22. November 1, 2012 at 11:44 am

    Wooooooow……..that IS serious stuff Mike.

    Thanks for making the call.

  23. November 1, 2012 at 11:55 am


  24. November 1, 2012 at 12:10 pm

    So good!!! ….may have shed a couple of tears.

  25. Shelli Hinkson
    November 1, 2012 at 12:18 pm

    WOW! How powerful!!

  26. Lindsay
    November 1, 2012 at 12:19 pm

    wow – powerful stuff. thanks for sharing… miss you and miss patti! xoxo

  27. November 1, 2012 at 12:23 pm


  28. alsoknownasrick
    November 1, 2012 at 12:26 pm

    Shit. There is a lot a young married guy can learn from this post (and subsequently, another man’s life). Thanks for sharing, Mike, and Awesome Guy, thanks for being an inspiration and legit Man of God.

    • November 1, 2012 at 12:29 pm

      You are on the right track sir! xo

  29. Corey J
    November 1, 2012 at 12:46 pm

    This is so good. As refreshing, challenging, provoking, empowering, and convicting as only a word from the Lord can be. Thanks for asking the questions that most men wouldn’t bother about. I can’t wait to see you and Patti again.

  30. Lindsey
    November 1, 2012 at 1:22 pm

    Wow. Powerful. Balling over here. I’m not even married but I want a man that does and values all of the “to do’s” listed here.

    • November 1, 2012 at 1:47 pm

      He’ll bring you one. Watch and see. xo

  31. Jenny Newton
    November 1, 2012 at 1:46 pm

    Wow Papa Mike… this is incredible. Thank you for your faithfulness, pursuit, and desire to love with all you are. Gosh I’m blessed you’re in my life. Thank you, Jesus! “This is some serious stuff” indeed. 🙂 LOVE YOU!! xo

    • November 1, 2012 at 1:48 pm

      Yes it is. Love you Mrs Newton. xo

  32. John Smith
    November 1, 2012 at 2:24 pm

    I love it! This is pretty amazing. Thanks.

  33. Jess
    November 1, 2012 at 3:43 pm

    Tearfully stunned. Motivated to be more present in my relationships. Thank you, mike!

    • November 1, 2012 at 3:58 pm

      Thanks babe! Good to hear from you! Our best to the family! xo

  34. Jesse Newton
    November 1, 2012 at 5:54 pm

    I hear you awesome man!! I think you got everybody crying… I’m so grateful that I have such an amazing Bride that I have the honor of doing this serious stuff with and for!! Father, let me never take my Joy for granted!! Thanks Papa Mike!

    • November 1, 2012 at 6:12 pm

      That’s right. Take care of your business and she is your business. xo

  35. November 1, 2012 at 9:36 pm

    good word “awesome man”

  36. November 1, 2012 at 10:14 pm

    About to go Touch, Pull, Grab, Rub, Enjoy, Smell, and Notice right now.

  37. Beth
    November 1, 2012 at 10:44 pm

    Thanks for using your gift of storytelling. I cried and then Scott came in and read it and teared up. You and that Awesome girl continue to impact us in so many restorative ways.

    • November 2, 2012 at 6:05 am

      Thanks Beth. Love you people! xo

  38. November 2, 2012 at 11:34 am

    What a beautiful post. This is great advice for everyone, really, not just husbands. I admit I easily get caught up in the little annoyances of relationships with my husband, children, and friends. It is important for us to refocus on enjoying the company of our loved ones because you never know when you won’t have that company any more.

    • November 2, 2012 at 11:38 am

      This would be be very true! Thanks for weighing-in!

  39. November 2, 2012 at 12:54 pm

    of course i read this the first time through watery, tear-spilling eyes. i’ve re-read it, shared it, & imagine i’ll come back to this one for a lifetime. the power of creating space & truly seeing – and letting ourselves, in all of our messy glory, BE SEEN – is inexplicable. so overwhelmingly lucky you’re in my life. xoxo

  40. November 2, 2012 at 1:18 pm

    I am so privileged to witness you and other Awesome Men love your wives well. Thanks for listening to those who’ve gone before you and being willing to share yourself with us :).

  41. November 2, 2012 at 3:03 pm

    Shared this with a good brother of mine, I know it will bless him as it blessed me. Thank you Mike.

  42. Lisa Black
    November 2, 2012 at 6:40 pm

    As a young bride widowed in November 17 years ago,I felt every word of this deep in my soul. As a new bride of 12 years this November, I have to ask myself if I could survive the loss of Gary Black. The answer is…never…
    As the little sister of the author of this blog, I agree with all the comments… BEST EVER!! Off the charts brother..,more please!!!

    • November 2, 2012 at 8:03 pm

      Thank you. Love you Queen Mum. xo

  43. Willie
    November 2, 2012 at 9:11 pm

    Well Mike, thanks for sharing this and making my heart turn to mush. So grateful for those words… and I’m so grateful for my “Awesome Girl”! I will touch, smell, and cherish Jane for as long as I have breath!

    • November 2, 2012 at 9:21 pm

      Spot on old chap… spot on! xo

  44. Danita
    November 4, 2012 at 7:53 am

    Wow. Your words skillfully woven together make my heart ache in the remembering of 15 yrs of moments like that. Once wife, now my tax returns say widow and single mama. Navy husband died much too young @ 45. I pray I loved well and treasured moments and really saw the sunrises. And that I can do the same with my kids each day. Notice. Treasure. Touch. Laugh. Great advice for any of us in any season 🙂 Thanks, Mike.

  45. Wog
    November 7, 2012 at 7:30 am

    Wow Michael !

  46. Loren Messarra
    November 7, 2012 at 10:11 am

    Mike … this is such a wonderful testimony. You bring hope & conviction to so many – the Lord speaks through you in clear and powerful ways … rock on!

    • November 7, 2012 at 11:25 am

      Thanks honey. Love you guys! xo

  47. Jamie Molle
    November 27, 2012 at 11:17 pm

    I just finished my 3rd read. Thanks for this. I am deeply touched.

    • November 28, 2012 at 6:42 am

      Hey Ms Jamie! My best to you and yours! xo

  1. November 1, 2012 at 9:25 am
  2. November 4, 2012 at 1:52 am

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