#123 – Dick Bernard: the "Day Maker"

Today at my Church, the Basilica of St. Mary in Minneapolis, Fr. Tim Power chose to frame his sermon around a story told by a guy I’d never heard of: a famed hair stylist and entrepreneur named David Wagner.
Fr. Tim told us that Wagner once recalled a phone call from one of his clients. She wasn’t on his schedule, but wondered if there was a possibility he could fit her in as she had an important and special evening ahead.
Wagner made an opening for her, she came in, and he did his usual great job, and was also his usual friendly self, chatting, and joking with his client in the chair.
She left, looking, sounding great, and Wagner went on to his next client.
Some weeks later, he received a letter from the woman. She recalled the day in his salon chair, and that she had come in to get her hair styled before her planned suicide (her special evening) that night.
The time in Wagners salon had been so uplifting for her, she said, that she changed her mind about the suicide, and called for help that evening.
She was writing from the psychiatric care facility, and she was feeling much better. She thanked Wagner for saving her life; something he didn’t know he was doing at the time.
Fr. Power went on to tie his story into his message of the day, basically to be someone’s “Day Maker”, than to do the opposite, the “Make my day” philosophy.
His story caused me to think back 26 years, to a very low time in my life.
I hadn’t been thinking of “ending it all”, not at all, but I was dragging pretty low.
One afternoon I picked up a phone message from a friend of mine, Vince. I hadn’t talked to him for a long while, and I had no idea what he wanted, but I called him back.
“Just wanted to say hello”, he said. And we chatted for a short while about nothing in particular.
Of all the phone calls or visits I’ve ever received, Vince’s is by far the most memorable. And I don’t think he knew I was dragging bottom; his call had nothing connected to do with that at all. He “just wanted to say hello”.
I can’t call Vince and thank him for that long ago message, since he passed on quite a number of years ago.
But Fr. Tim’s message today is a reminder that this season, with all its hubbub and promise, can be a very depressing time for many people, including those who seem unlikely to succumb to depressing thoughts and feelings.
Maybe a good gift these coming days, and long past Christmas, is to work on being a “day maker” for someone out in the world.
The message is to myself, too.
Thanks, Tim.
(You can easily find references to David Wagner Daymaker on the web. Look him up.)