The Most Important Body Part

This just came in the mail. It is a timely reminder, considering this period of mourning that my kinsfolk are going through. Thank you Calum for sharing this very touching story.

My mother used to ask me what is the most important part of the body. Through the years I would take a guess at what I thought was the correct answer. When I was younger, I thought sound was very important to us as humans, so I said, “My ears, Mommy.”

She said “No, many people are deaf. But you keep thinking about it and I will ask you again soon.”

Several years passed before she asked me again. Since making my first attempt, I had contemplated the correct answer. So this time I told her, “Mommy, sight is very important to everybody, so it must be our eyes.”

She looked at me and told me, “You are learning fast, but the answer is not correct because there are many people who are blind.”

Stumped again, I continued my quest for knowledge and over the years, Mother asked me a couple more times and always her answer was, “No. But you are getting smarter every year, my young child.”

Then last year, my grandpa died. Everybody was hurt. Everybody was crying. Even my father cried. I remember that especially because it was only the second time I saw him cry. My Mom looked at me when it was our turn to say our final goodbye to Grandpa.

She asked me, “Do you know the most important body part yet, my son?”

I was shocked when she asked me this now. I always thought this was a game between her and me. She saw the confusion on my face and told me, “This question is very important. It shows that you have really lived in your life. For every body part you gave
me in the past, I have told you was wrong and I have given you an example why. But today is the day you need to learn this important lesson.”

She looked down at me as only a mother can. I saw her eyes well up with tears. She said, “Son, the most important body part is your shoulder.”

I asked, “Is it because it holds up my head?”

She replied, “No, it is because it can hold the head of a friend or a loved one when they cry. Everybody needs a shoulder to cry on sometime in life, my son. I only hope that you have enough love and friends that you will always have a shoulder to cry on when you need it.”

Then and there I knew the most important body part is not a selfish one. It is sympathetic to the pain of others. People will forget what you said; people will forget what you did; but people will never forget how you made them feel.

Author unknown

Author: Peter Tan

Peter Gabriel Tan. Penangite residing in the Klang Valley. Blissfully married to Wuan. A LaSallian through and through. Slave to three cats. Wheelchair user since 1984. End-stage renal disease since 2017. Principal Facilitator at Peter Tan Training specialising in Disability Equality Training. Former columnist of Breaking Barriers with The Borneo Post. This blog chronicles my life, thoughts and opinions. Connect with me on Twitter and Facebook.

8 thoughts on “The Most Important Body Part”

  1. but mine is bony, come lean on me, peter

    You are making an offer I cannot refuse.

  2. Hahaha, very funny. Anyways, it’s a very good entry there. Thanx, Petes! 😉

    Yes, it is a good story.

  3. hmmmm…..touching ……i was thinking of heart actually….

    This taught me one more way to be there for people who need consoling.

  4. Sad to read, Trust in the Lord to Lead you thru this time.


    Thank you.

  5. Peter you better stop the broke back thingy you guys are having… this is giving me the shivers… back to regular comment… I din think the shoulder would be the most important. But anyhow an eye opener nevertheless

    I do not see anything wrong in one guy lending his shoulder to another in times of grief. You have a corrupt mind.

  6. That’s so cool Peter. I love stories like that. And that line: “People will forget what you said; people will forget what you did; but people will never forget how you made them feel.” really changed how I deal with people when I heard it from my lecturer.

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