It was not an unusual day – in fact, it was like most others. My 3×5 card list of things to do was long and pushed me hard and fast. I tried to prioritize but just as one thing was crossed off something else pushed itself to the top of the list.
The departure time on my next flight was now an hour later than scheduled. I made my way to one of the little restaurants for a quick bite. Sitting there alone, I became acutely conscious of the people around me. A cell phone pinged, and a waitress nervously looked around and stepped around the corner to take the call. When she came back, a relieved smile was on her face. As she poured my coffee I inquired, “Good news?” She said, “Yes, ma’am. . . really good news. My son won’t have to have surgery after all!” She went on to tell me how her son had fallen playing on the playground at school and broken his arm. The phone call was from the doctor’s office.
As she moved away to other tables and customers, I found myself listening in to the conversations around me. Not intentionally eavesdropping, just tuned in to the people around me I learned that the young man at the next table was trying desperately to say the right words to repair a broken relationship, as he held a cell phone to his ear and absent-mindedly moved the food around on his plate. A middle-aged woman at another table seemed overwhelmed, her countenance weighted and sad.
It was a random sampling of strangers – many of them sad. The anxiety of my list of things left undone was replaced with a sense of concern for these troubled people. I paused and thanked Him for sending me off alone – giving me this opportunity for quietness and aloneness that let me once again hear my heart – and His voice. I felt a unique oneness with Him as I looked around me and was moved with compassion for His children.
The world is hurting. I cannot heal it alone. My presence, however, my presence, my smile, a hand extended, a word “fitly spoken”, a prayer prayed – all are small applications of the “balm of Gilead.” I am not the Great Physician. I can, however, be a sensitive nurse who follows the Doctor’s orders.
“As ye have done it unto one of the least of these, my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”