Have you ever caught yourself thinking one thing and doing something else?
When I leave work, I usually make a left turn out of the parking lot and drive past the hospital to get on the road home. The other day, I found myself turning right instead, and ended up in the drive through lane of the local McDonald's. I ordered the seasonal 'pie' (pumpkin at this time) and sat and waited for what is an unusually long time. The truck ahead of me had a bumper sticker with a picture of a basket of puppies and kittens and the caption "We are not disposable". I got to thinking that this could easily be modified into a pro (human)- life bumper sticker. And then I got to the pick-up window. Instead of the usual bustle of activity, the window was closed. I could see inside the store that there seemed to be only one staff person for both the drive through window and the counter - and at this time of day, McDonalds is usually hopping. That one staff person was hustling trying to meet the needs of the public without adequate support from co-workers. My initial annoyance melted away as I realized what a tough and thankless job she was doing. Thankfully, there was no one behind me in the line to get annoyed at me!
Finally, the window opened and my bag was handed out. I looked at the face of the person who had been working so hard. I recognized her as one of my middle-aged patients, who sees me for her Paps and her female complaints. I don't think she initially recognized me.
I said,"looks like you are short staffed in there. You're doing just fine, don't work too hard and get all stressed out".
She looked at me funny for a moment, and then recognized me. (out of context it can be hard, you know?). She said,"Did you nurse tell you that I called? She told me to go to the emergency room because I was so depressed and suicidal."
me: "did you go?"
her: "No, I didn't want to."
me: "Are you still feeling bad?"
me: "Are you taking your medications?"
At that time, I noticed that she was wearing a collection of medals, including a Miraculous medal, on a chain around her neck.
me:" Remember that there are people who care about you. If you start to feel down again, come and get help. And remember,(as I reached out and held up her Miraculous Medal) that you can always pray. There is a prayer on this medal. Say it if you need to. And I'll pray for you too. I don't like to read bad things about my patients in the newspapers."
and she laughed as I rolled up my window and drove away.
When you get a chance, please pray for her. And while you are at it, please pray for all the others at the margins, those who are just getting by on minimum wage jobs, with no health or other insurance, living day to day. They are the invisible poor, taking handouts reluctantly, hoping that one day somehow things will be better. Working as hard as they can just to keep from slipping deeper into the muck, and they need our prayers and our works as well.