Save A Life, Grope Your Wife?!

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Take a look at this man and the words on his t-shirt.

Save A Life, Grope Your Wife?! (Photo courtesy of Kelly Wahlquist)

Save A Life, Grope Your Wife?! (Photo courtesy of Kelly Wahlquist)

How would you react if he sat next to you at the airport? Would you strike up a conversation? Laugh at his t-shirt? Raise your eyebrows … maybe even roll your eyes? Or would you be so preoccupied with your phone that you wouldn’t even notice him?

One of my favorite people to follow on Facebook and Twitter is Kelly Wahlquist, a fellow CatholicMom.com contributor whose social media activity has a way of grabbing me by the shoulders and shaking me gently, awakening me from the hypnosis of my daily grind as an at-home mom. I admire Kelly’s joyful and steadfast online witness for Christ, and she inspires me to respond in kind.

Kelly recently saw this man and his t-shirt in the Minneapolis–St. Paul Airport and posted the picture to her Facebook page. Kelly, the curious soul she is, approached the man, with a bright big smile I’m sure, and asked him what his t-shirt meant. Turns out it was all for one woman’s battle with breast cancer. The man’s good friend, Lisa, is in the final stages of breast cancer, and these t-shirts were made in conjunction with a fundraiser that collected $20,000 for Lisa and her family. Kelly took the time to assure the gentleman of her prayers for Lisa and the family, and Kelly also issued a plea to her Facebook friends to offer the same.

It was a Saturday morning when I saw Kelly’s post appear on my news feed. As I sat and stared at this picture, specifically the words on the t-shirt, I felt embarrassed and a bit ashamed as I replayed what I would have done if in Kelly’s shoes. I probably would have rolled my eyes; doubtful I would have engaged him in conversation to learn more. As I went throughout my day, Lisa and her family were constantly in my thoughts and prayers. And so was Kelly.

A friend of mine once mentioned that his spiritual director used to say the following, “Wherever you go, lift people up. Even if you’re low, raise them up with a smile, a warm comment, an interested response. Although joy can’t be chosen, cheerfulness can.”

That’s precisely what Kelly did in that airport one early Saturday morning in June. I’m so thankful for Kelly — her smile, warmth, cheerful witness and love. The world is a better place with her in it, and she’s given us quite an example to follow.

Let us always meet each other with a smile, for the smile is the beginning of love. ~ Blessed Teresa of Calcutta

Copyright 2013 Lisa Schmidt

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About Author

Lisa Schmidt writes at ThePracticingCatholic.com with her husband Joel. A proud Iowan, the Schmidts reside in Des Moines where Lisa is a full-time at-home mom. She also supports her husband in his deacon ministries for the Diocese of Des Moines. At The Practicing Catholic, Lisa enjoys writing about the things that bring her great joy: the Catholic faith, her family, fine arts, and good food.

8 Comments

  1. Chris Timson on

    Wonderful article. I work in Customer Service in Toronto (Canada) and I love the t-shirt! I not only would have asked him about the shirt but I would have gladly given him some money and asked where I could have gotten a shirt like it. I will keep him in my prayers for the great job he is doing. God bless you and keep up the great work!

    Chris

  2. Lisa,

    I am humbled. What a beautiful article, and how wonderful for you to see a little Facebook post from such a perspective. It is amazing to me to see how God can use our little actions in what seems like a mundane trip on the tram at an airport as a moment to teach about how we can spread a little of His Light in the world. To be honest, I don’t think I was consciously doing that, I just had a sincere interest in his story and learned that day that this rough looking man with an almost insulting slogan on his back was a beautiful child of God who deeply loved his friend and would do anything to help her in her times of trouble—even if it meant wearing a t-shirt with pink ‘questionable” writing on it.

    Don’t feel bad about thinking you might have rolled your eyes, the only other person (a woman) in the tram did when he turned around, but after she heard him tell me his story, her heart softened and a gentle smile lit up her face. I think we all learned a lesson that day, me included!

    The take away just might be found in the words of St. John Chrysostom (and I’m paraphrasing here, I think): “Actions done in great joy are received in great joy.”

    I too have been praying for Lisa and all who love her and I like to believe all our prayers are giving her peace in her final days. May she find comfort under the mantle of our Blessed Mother now and at the hour of her death.

    Thank you for your kind words in this post and for pointing out a teaching moment to me.

    Blessings in Christ my dear sister!

    Kelly

  3. My first response was not of judgement but I was puzzled. I took it as playful. But, what did it mean?

    Your article caused me to consider the “I love boobies” bracelets that we see once in a while. Though I know they are also in support of breast cancer research, I find that they can be inappropriate at certain times.

    Thanks for sharing the story!

    • I was puzzled a bit by the words, too. I’m thinking maybe the phrase has something to do with husbands getting involved in the women’s monthly self-exam? I am not a huge proponent of some of the marketing campaigns that use somewhat crass, language. And that’s what precipitated this post … would my irritations with those words on that t-shirt caused my heart to be so hardened and prevented me from entering into a dialogue with this man? I suspect so.

      Thanks for commenting! Blessings to your day.

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