Sometimes when life gets overwhelming (and life seems to do that a lot), it’s easy to start feeling sorry for myself – but then I go back to all the things I have for which I’m thankful and I know self-pity doesn’t get anyone anywhere – and that includes me.
Mom and I were talking about that today because of the lady.
I took Mom to the eye doctor. As we were walking in, I noticed the lady in a wheelchair – she was quite heavy and I wondered if she had the chair because of her weight, but of course, I had no way of knowing. I did notice she was wearing a plain, pink cotton dress – noticeable in it’s unchicness. Most of us wouldn’t even stick it in a garage sale. She was wearing no shoes, but instead had on thick, wool socks. I noticed all that in a passing glance, more concerned about making sure my mom (who, at ninety, has some weakness in her legs) got to where she was supposed to get.
We sat in the waiting room and then saw a nurse and then were ushered to another waiting room. At this point, I needed to run out to the car for something and on my way, I noticed the lady in the pink dress sitting outside the clinic. The sun was growing hotter and even in my short-sleeved shirt, capris and sandals, I was hot – and there was the lady in h long dress and wool socks. I willed her to look at me as I walked by – I wanted to at least give her a friendly “hi.” I wondered if someone was supposed to pick her up, but he or she had forgotten.
But she didn’t look up and I needed to get back before the doctor called my mom.
Quite awhile later my mom was done and I ran out to get the car so she wouldn’t have to walk across the large parking lot. The lady was still there – the heat was now permeating every pore of my body and I couldn’t imagine what it would be like to be unmovable while wearing such heavy clothing.
When my mom got in the car I said, “That lady is still there. I wish I could do something for her. I would offer to take her wherever she is going.” But I knew that wouldn’t be right. And, I don’t think I could’ve gotten both the lady and the wheelchair in the car.
As I drove my mom to the grocery store, we talked about loneliness and how hard it is to not have people who care. (Obviously, no one was helping this lady look nice or making sure she dressed in appropriate clothing.) We talked about family and how good it is to have family … and friends.
Mom said, “She probably lives in a place where no one cares, no one takes the time to be aware of where she is and when it’s time to get her. No one knows she’s been waiting in the heat for an hour and a half.”
We went to the store and when we came out, we decided to run through the drive-thru for salads. “We should buy the lady a salad,” I suggested.
“We can go back to the clinic if you want,” Mom agreed. “We could get her a cold drink.”
I did want to go back. And so we did.
And she was gone, but I think maybe “just” gone because I saw a transport van pulling away from the curb.
John wrote that we are not to love with words, but with actions. (1 John 3:18)
I am sorry I didn’t stop and give her a cheery “hello.”
I am sorry I didn’t at least get her a glass of water from inside the clinic.
I am sorry I didn’t make her day a little better.
Instead of feeling sorry for ourselves, we need to remember not to forget the forgotten people.