The whole procedure should have taken fifteen minutes. A routine blood pressure score measured by a nurse. My husband, Vernon, dropped me off at the main entrance of the medical center before parking in the back of the lot to read a book.
In and out. A logical plan.
Walking around the burgundy sedan parked in front of the main entry, I noticed a middle-aged man helping a woman out of the passenger seat. He gently encircled her body with his arms and guided her faltering footsteps to the wheel chair on the sidewalk. Treading cautiously around them, I tried to avoid getting in their way.
“What a loving couple they are.” The thought drew a smile from my lips.
The giant glass doors parted automatically with a swishing sound. I stepped into the vacant lobby. Sunlight gave way to overhead lights that brightened the room.
Then, total darkness closed in.
Sprawled on the floor, I realized that the blackness was due to the rubberized entrance mat lying barely an inch from my nose, teeth and glasses.
“I’ve fallen on my face… Nearly.”
The thought of how I looked flat on a mat brought waves of embarrassment washing over my rigid, hurting body. Pushing upward on my arms, knee pain signaled the landing point of the fall. The cause? Catching my shoe on the edge of the entrance’s runner. A deep sigh slipped through clenched teeth.
The sound of a voice above me turned my gaze upward. “Let’s get you up.” The gentleman who had been helping his wife stood nearby. His shoes and legs within sight.
Now, there is a challenge to lifting a slightly plump elderly woman. Complete dead weight. No small task for anyone. Before I could mumble anything, the gentleman slid his hands under my armpits. Within a second, my body stood in an upright position. Wobbly, but upright.
“My name is Sam. I’m going to get my wife settled. She’s here for a check-up after her stroke. Then I’ll get you a wheel chair.”
Sam dashed back to the car and rolled his wife next to me. Her eyes widened with concern as she surveyed my condition. I tried to smile while my legs threatened to give out. “Stay here,” Sam nodded in my direction. He disappeared into the doctor’s waiting room with his mate.
Within minutes, Sam returned, gently guiding my stiff body into the seat of a wheel chair. Although relieved to be sitting, the humiliation of tripping on a mat silenced my tongue. “Thank you, Sam.” Words uttered sheepishly.
Sam pushed me into the admissions line where his wife waited several patients ahead. With a smile of reassurance to me, he stepped forward to join his wife as she filled out papers. Then he rolled her into the examination room when her name was called. I pushed the wheels on my chair to secure an inconspicuous spot in the seating arrangement.
When the nurse called for me, I started to stand on unsteady legs. Gentle hands pressed on my shoulders. Looking backwards, I saw Sam smiling down. Following the nurse, he guided my wheelchair to the blood pressure station. With a tip of his cap, he strode back to the waiting room.
After sitting for a while, the blood pressure was taken. Within the normal range. What a relief. At this point, the worst hurt was my dignity. Stepping behind the wheel chair, I leaned on the grips and rolled the chair as a support back to the reception area. Sam patiently waited near the door into which his wife had disappeared. Parking the wheel chair, I strode over to the gentleman.
My words spoke for my heart. “I can’t thank you enough for helping me today.” Sam grinned and lowered his gaze under the gratitude. “You allowed me to keep my respect while showing great kindness. Thank you again.”
Sam responded in a low voice. “It was the least I could do. My wife had a stroke a few months back and needed help. Today you needed help.” For a moment, his firm tanned hands enfolded my chalky wrinkled fingers with warmth.
Nodding to him, I took my leave. Limping a bit. Closely examining the floor. But grateful for the gentle people still helping others in this world.
As I stepped out of the med center, my husband started the car’s motor and drove to the entrance.
Vern smiled as I slid into the passenger seat. “Took a little longer than usual. Anything happen?”
My banged-up knees ached in reply.
Jesus says, “I tell you the truth, when you did it to the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did it for me.” Matthew 25:40. The hungry, thirsty, homeless, naked, sick and imprisoned are mentioned. Nowhere does it suggest a woman lying face down on a dirty runner as an example of performing a good deed in Jesus’ name. But, on this day, Sam demonstrated the compassion and grace that only a man following in His Master’s footsteps could give.
Early in the morning, I went to a med center for a blood pressure test. I left with a view of Jesus working through the life of one of His disciples. An unexpected and inspiring start to a new day.
“None of us can help everyone. But all of us can help someone. And when we help them, we serve Jesus. Who would want to miss a chance to do that?” Max Lucado