Thomas Jefferson, Companionship, and a "Yes" face

August 7, 2021

"Companionship is also one of the greatest blessings we receive when we receive the precious Body and Blood."


Thomas Jefferson, while he was president, was one day traveling with a group of companions on horseback across the countryside. At one point they came to a swollen river that had washed away the bridge. Each rider was forced to ford the river on horseback fighting against the current and the rushing rapids. It was truly a life threatening situation.

Another traveler, who was on foot and not part of Jefferson's group stood aside and watched as each rider made the dangerous trip across the river. After several riders had successfully made the crossing, the stranger asked President Jefferson if he would ferry him across. Jefferson agreed without hesitation. The man climbed on and in a few moments they were both safely on the other side.

As the stranger slid off the horse and on to dry ground one of the other men asked him, “Tell me, why did you select the president to ask this favor of?” The man was shocked and admitted he had no idea that it was the president who had helped him.

“All I know,” he said, “is that on some of your faces was written the answer 'No.' and on some of your faces was written the answer 'Yes.' His was a 'Yes' face.”

Even the most optimistic among us know that we will have problems in life. Difficulties, hardships, sickness, and family troubles are realities of our existence. Yet we know instinctually that these troubles serve to make us strong. There is something in our nature that draws strength from adversity, as long as we know we are not going it alone.

When we know that we have companions, we can do amazing things, and ultimately we do not mind the pain or the suffering. Even our greatest fear, death, is perhaps not so much a fear of dying, as it is a fear of dying alone.

Companionship is one of the greatest blessings we receive when we receive the precious Body and Blood. The bread from heaven is not only nourishment for the journey but it is also God’s promise that He will be with us always.

We know that God does not step in to make everything right for us. Jesus told us that we would still have trials. But to help us bear these trials He offers us companionship, he offers to carry our problems with us. On the face of Jesus is written the word “Yes.”

Our God is a God of presence. He did not desert Elijah, He will not desert us, he is there to help us bear the pain.

There are many ways for us to model Christ for each other, even simple companionship. There is always someone we can call, someone we can visit. There is always someone who needs to know they are not alone. There is always someone who needs to see in us the strength and confidence we have in God. There is always someone who needs to see the word “Yes” written on our face.

Pax Vobiscum
19th Sunday in Ordinary time


© Lawrence Klimecki

Saint George © Lawrence Klimecki

Purchase fine art prints by Deacon Lawrence here.

Deacon Lawrence draws on ancient Christian tradition to create new contemporary art that seeks to connect the physical and the spiritual.. For more information on original art, prints and commissions, Please visit 

Lawrence Klimecki, MSA, is a deacon in the Diocese of Sacramento. He is a public speaker, writer, and artist, reflecting on the intersection of art and faith


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