So, today I was at the Veteran’s Administration Hospital and feeling a little sorry for myself. I had been there most of the day. To get from one area of the hospital (like Primary Care, vs. the labs/xray/pharmacy) you have to go through a long weird tunnel that seems to be a mile long, and over the course of the day, either by virtue of doc deciding I needed more tests or making a mistake in putting in my prescriptions, I wound up making that journey four round trips. By the last trip, in my mind I was thinking, “stupid VA. Can’t get anything right! I’ve got stinking pneumonia again and they keep causing me to repeat this trip? Really?”
And then, I saw Him.
He must have come out of a different elevator a little further down from where I had entered the tunnel. That’s the only explanation for how he just appeared in front of me. He was an older gentleman, maybe a Korea or Vietnam era veteran. I saw the walker first. Then I noticed he had two prosthetic legs, both starting at the knees. He was also pushing an IV pole with what appeared to be blood hooked up. He was trudging the same tunnel I was. Suddenly, I felt very guilty for feeling sorry for myself. As I passed, I said, “Afternoon, Sir.” He answered with a bright smile and said, “Well, hello, Missy, how are you this lovely day?” I couldn’t help but smile. He could have been your or my grandfather, and his spirit lifted mine. I wouldn’t swear he wasn’t just the angel I needed. I find myself just a little teary writing this.
I’ve always had a great deal of respect for any soldier, sailor, airman or Marine who came before me–especially those folks who served during combat. Today, seeing that gentleman in front of me, that respect re-doubled. May I always strive to show the grace he showed me.
If you’ve read this, and haven’t thanked a vet, today, please, do. If you have, maybe think about volunteering at your local VA? Who knows, maybe you’ll run into your angel in a lonely hallway, too?