I’m Sorry


Male.  African-Hispanic.  Average height.  Cornrows in his hair.  Muscular.  Pierced ears–gauges.  “Muscle shirt.”  Pants held on only by the grace of God.
I’m gonna call him Joey.  I think he looks like a Joey.  Not a cute little boy, Joey– a cool dude Joey.  I picture him with friends Marco and Ty.  He may not be a little boy, Joey, but he was once.  Once upon a time he was a small little boy, about three or four years old with big eyes and a killer smile that charmed his mother and looked just like his father.  Joey still has big eyes– today they were red with weeping.  His lip quivered as he rushed back into the elevator after getting off when I got on.  He thought it was the lobby.
You know, his lip quivered when he was a little boy too.  He probably ran faster than his feet could keep up with and bam!  Down he went.  His lip quivered, his eyes filled with tears–just like today–and he ran to his daddy’s arms for comfort.  I hope Joey today ran for his Father’s arms.  It’s the only real comfort.  I’ve learned a lot about that lately.
I have to admit.  Usually, I wouldn’t have noticed Joey, or if I did, I have a feeling that I would not have really seen him.  Today, I saw him and instead of feeling awkward around someone so different than me, I felt compassion.  Lord, give me more compassion more often!
I’m learning something new through this whole experience.  I am learning that hospitals are a great “equalizer.”  Rich, poor, white, black, green.  Small town gal, big city dude, young, old… it doesn’t matter.  Pain hits us all and we gather at the great center of physical hope.
I don’t know why he was hurting.  You see, I didn’t ask.  I didn’t even ask if he was ok.  I was so busy thinking about hospitals and the commonality of pain that I never really looked at the hurting man in front of me– or rather, I looked at him rather than spoke to him– invested in him as a person.  He probably would have brushed me off.  I wouldn’t blame him; what kind of comfort is a total stranger?  However, shouldn’t he have had the choice to do that?
I’m learning a lot about myself in this hospital experience– much of it things I didn’t want to know about me.  I’m learning that I’m very self-centered– even more than I previously thought.  I learned that I’m even more… well, I guess prejudiced than I thought.  I’m not racist in the popular definition of the word. I couldn’t care less about social status, ethnicity, or even if a person agrees with me politically or religiously.  However, I know that when someone LOOKS like they might be “rough around the edges” I avoid them.  I know it, because I’ve seen me do it lately.  I’ve learned that I will let my personal issues control me rather than do what is right.
I’m also learning that I’ll allow myself to ponder what makes things happen rather than be the one who does make those things happen.  I will laugh and joke with a nurse and a security guard rather than extend a little sympathy and ask, “Are you ok?”
I’m ashamed of myself.
I keep wondering about him now.  Convenient, isn’t it?  Wonder about it AFTER there’s nothing I can do?  Oh, I can see me tomorrow.  I see him again and get so caught up in the implausibility of seeing him again that I don’t bother to say, even once, “I’m praying for you.”  Convenient.
I’m disgusted.  I want to convince myself that I would do something different, but let’s face it.  I probably won’t.  I will pray for him now, of course, and I know that the Lord will hear my prayers.  I know that there may be real benefit to Joey and his loved one, but JOEY won’t know that some freaky gal from another town is praying for him.  He won’t have that confidence that he isn’t alone in his pain.  No, he’ll just go through the lobby again, down the corridor, and let the door swing open while he strolls out into the stifling heat– again.  He’ll walk to his car, alone, again.  And again, no one will have said a kind word– or if they do (Lord, please let SOMEONE do the right thing), it probably won’t have been me.
I’m sorry, Joey.  I’m so sorry.

5 thoughts on “I’m Sorry

  1. I’ve been in your shoes. I know that feeling. Thank goodness God is a God of second chances, perhaps you will see him again and perhaps you will want to say something to comfort him.

    Norma

  2. Wow! Thank you…I needed to read this. Thank you for being honest and for pointing out my own flaws. Very spot on. I need to learn to reach out to others. Lord, help me! Amen.

  3. Beautiful to read. A poignant reminder of a piece I wrote back in highschool–only the boy I’d just walked past wasn’t Joey, but John, and I knew him well enough to know his name… yet, I just walked by…

    A good reminder. Thank you!

  4. Remember, we are saved by God’s Grace, but judged by our works. We have all been in your shoes, so don’t feel bad. Just try to reach out to as many people each day as you can. I pray to God that I will bless someone every day that will bless His heart! Thanks for being honest!

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