If you enter our building from the parking lot, it feels like the front, but it’s really the back, and you have to walk right by the laundry room before hitting the lobby. We’re a very classy establishment.
I came in late on Monday night from an appointment, and saw one of my neighbors doing a little late-night laundry. We chatted for a few minutes and, in the course of our conversation, she mentioned that she knew me and she knew the kids (everybody in our building knows my children … you’d have to be deaf and blind to NOT know my children), but that she’d never met my husband.
I said it was quite probable that she hadn’t, but then remembered that she had briefly met Bob on the morning after the blizzard in late January. When I mentioned this, she looked shocked and said, “Oh my word! He’s the hospice angel!” This took me by surprise. I have heard my husband called many things, but “hospice angel” has never been one of them.
Here’s what happened: On the morning after the blizzard, Bob was home (as was half the state). There were 3-foot-high drifts around our cars and we suddenly saw this neighbor trying to dig her little car out of the snow. I should probably mention … since we have an outside service at our condo for snow removal, none of us keep shovels …something you really wouldn’t consider until you’ve spent 45 minutes unearthing your car with your floor washing bucket. Anyway, if I remember correctly, she was using her windshield scraper to try and clear out the parking space. What stood out to us was that she was wearing scrubs. We figured she must be a nurse on her way to a hospital, so Bob had grabbed his coat, found a garbage can lid, and went to help her scoop the snow away from her car. She got in to back out, got out of the space, and Bob came back inside. End of story … or not?
Here’s what we didn’t know until Monday night. Lourdes is a hospice nurse. She couldn’t get to any of her patients that day because of the snow, but she’d gotten a call from a nursing home close to where we live begging her to come because nobody else could and they had a patient who was actively dying. She told them that she would try and get her car out, and if she couldn’t do that, perhaps she could try to walk. She told me that she was just about to give up when this guy with dark hair and glasses (Bob) seemed to come out of nowhere and helped her get her car out. By the time she backed out of the space, he had left (having come back inside). She said she’d never seen him before or since, but because of his assistance, she made it to the nursing home and was with the patient when he/she died that day. The hospice and nursing home staffs still refer to her unknown helper as her “hospice angel.”
This is a crazy and rather humorous story, but it reiterated something to me. I never know how helping or serving another person is going to be used–in their life or in my own.
I once heard John Piper address our understanding of the mind of God and now I wish I could find the quote … something to the effect that we see only one thing and God sees everything all at once. In this tiny instance–how helping to get a car out of the snow ensured that a hospice nurse got to the bed of her dying patient.
When I thought about this, I felt a reminder to “Be ready.”
Are you looking for the opportunities that God puts before you to serve others? Will you be ready?