I walked quickly and with purpose to meet with my next-to-last patient of the day. I was in a hurry. I still had to drive across town to handle an unexpected situation with another patient. As I walked down the hall to Mr. Smith’s * room I went over the list of things I needed to accomplish in this visit. I was focused, determined, and efficient.

I was, once again, missing the point.

The point was Mr. Smith. The point was what he needed in that moment in time – not what I needed, not my checklist. Sometimes (all the stinkin’ time) God gives me an experience to jolt me awake from complacency and my intense focus on the wrong things.

I’m feeling exhausted taking care of my three, active kids.

I spend an hour with a woman approaching 90 who cares for her husband who has forgotten how to feed himself, dress himself, and requires as much care as a young child. She cares for him selflessly, lovingly, and unfailingly.

I’m feeling sorry for myself because we’ve been out of our home since the tornado and it feels like the end isn’t even in sight.

I meet with a woman approaching 100 who lost the home that she lived in for over 60 years. She was carried out of the debris on her neighbor’s back.

I’m impatient with my kids, frustrated by their slow pace, and overwhelmed by all the things I need to accomplish in a day.

I attend the funeral of a beautiful man. His family gives tributes that touch every soul in the room. I celebrate the life of this man I barely knew while thinking of the people I love and who love me.

I take my husband for granted and am frustrated with him for buying the wrong type of coffee.

I have the opportunity to talk to a man who visits his wife in the nursing home every day. She doesn’t know who he is but he holds her hand and tells me so simply and so beautifully, “I miss her.”

I walked into Mr. Smith’s room a model of efficiency and productivity. I walked in the child who needs to learn the lessons of humility, perspective, and grace again and again. Mr. Smith stopped what he was doing and helped me go through my agenda items. I stood up to tell him good-bye and he took my hand, closed his eyes, and asked if he could pray for me. And he did.

When I left his room I carried so much more than checked-off agenda items.

*Names changed to protect the awesome.

A gift made by Mr. Smith

14 thoughts on “Grace

    1. I think that’s why God gives me so many little moments – I can be slow to see sometimes. I may miss the first lesson, possibly the second, but normally by the third I start to have a “oh. this is something big and real,” moment!

  1. My father-in-law has Alzhemer’s, and is in a nursing home. The first time I visited him there, I saw someone I knew—my childhood dancing school teacher. We chatted, and I asked her who her loved one was. She told me her husband had been there for a little over a year, and that she spends every day there with him.

    I was quite surprised, as the home is a 40 minute drive from where she still lived. Her reply took my breath away. “We’ve been married for 52 years. Where else would I be?”

    Another year later, she still goes every day, arriving just after breakfast, and staying until late afternoon.

    She’s the most beautiful example of love and commitment I’ve ever seen.

  2. What a blessing this blog is for me and what a blessing you are for those you touch daily (including me)! Great timing! TN

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