Today, I present a guest post, from the journal of Debbie Dearing Leal, that will cause each of us to consider the question: Am I a Servant to Others?
ABOUT LAST NIGHT
By Debbie Dearing Leal
Yesterday was Noah’s 18th birthday. As always it’s pretty hard to make a good celebration for him at this time of year right in the middle of Christmas and New Years Day. It started out pretty well with uncle, aunt and Nana dropping off gifts before they left town, then a French neighbor dropped by to play the flute and guitar while singing Happy Birthday.
I made reservations at a fancy restaurant in town for 8:15 pm.
Noah took his friend Thomas to a couple of urgent care clinics trying to get an X-ray and an opinion on his hand that we thought was fractured from an earlier accident. They walked back into the house and stated that they had no luck finding anything open. I took charge because this had gone on for two days now and called around a few places without any luck either. So, we piled into my car and headed to the hospital ER.
We checked him in and and took seats in the waiting area along with an almost full house of others in need of care. The hours slipped by as Thomas was called back several times for different care givers to inspect his hand and then sent him back to wait some more.
As I sat there I was overcome with heartache for those around me. There were old ones in wheelchairs, young ones with terrible coughs; there were expectant mothers with fear in their eyes.
Several caught up my heart and I moved closer to learn the reason for their suffering and try to help. One young couple who asked to use my phone to make a call to check on their two children left in the care of their grandfather. They had no minutes left on their phones. Have I ever even thought about not having the use of a phone? I am so out of touch with the suffering.
She was doubled over with waves of excruciating pain and had been patiently waiting for a long time so I went to the “check in” desk and waited in line again. When it was finally my turn, I asked if they knew about the young woman’s terrible pain and how badly she was suffering. The pretty and well dressed blond told me she was aware but there wasn’t a room available yet. Then she just stared at me without any compassion. I took my seat again by the couple and began to pray for her. I asked her name and told her I was asking our Blessed Mother to pray for her. She thanked me between her waves of pain.
Another young couple walked in covered in tattoos, carrying a large, black trash back filled with clothes. She threw the bag in a chair and sat down beside me and collapsed onto the bag in sleep. They guy with her took a seat beside her and collapsed onto her in sleep. After awhile his cell phone rang and as he talked I realized he was speaking with his mother somewhere working a twelve hour shift in the hospital. I couldn’t get the whole story but they were homeless and waiting for his mother to get off working a twelve hour shift somewhere in the hospital to help them somehow. At least it was warm here. He hung up the phone and dug out a sandwich with white bread from some shelter. He offered to share it with Noah and me and apologized for bothering us. They were very sweet and kind. We assured him that he wasn’t a bother. The girl hardly moved except to use the restroom once. It was 13 degrees outside. We could all judge why a homeless person has a cellphone, but he is someone’s son and a mother always loves their child. No matter what.
As I sat there I was overcome with heartache for the suffering around me. I continued to pray the rosary for all of them and asking for some relief of their sufferings. I thought that if we want to help somehow, we could pick any day of the week and just sit in the waiting room of any hospital ER and pray. We could let them use our phones, talk to them and just be present to them. Be little “Christs” to them.
After several hours Noah and I looked at the time and it was 7 PM. We decided that tonight’s dinner reservations were not going to happen so I opened the app on my phone and cancelled our table. Noah didn’t complain one bit.
I went to warm up the car because Thomas had texted us that he was almost done. He and Noah came out with smiles and told me he has to see an orthopedic surgeon to see if he needs surgery. Did I mention that Thomas is from Europe and knows no one here in the US except a few other students at the college they attend and Noah is his best friend? He can’t go home for Christmas because the fare is too steep to fly.
I am so proud of our son for always thinking of others before himself. I am proud of his caring heart. I am overwhelmed with all of the pain I witnessed last night.
Lord help us to see the needs of others and respond to them as you would respond. This is what Christ asks of us.