It had been a long day already when we arrived at the foot doctor's for a small procedure in the late afternoon. I was rather tired, and just wanted to sit and read my book while I waited for the Gardener. But I was very aware of my surroundings. I had never been to a foot doctor's waiting room before and was amazed at the variety of people that had something going on with their feet. I made particular note of all the feet coming and going.
A 70-something woman wheeled in her husband. He immediately lost himself in his news magazine while she registered at the window. She looked exhausted. I was thinking of her small size and how in the world she managed to care for him. A mother and sister brought in their son/brother, a 40 or so year old man with cerebral palsy. My, they had him in line. Turns out the mother, also in her 70s, had had recent knee surgery.
But then the most amazing thing occurred. The door opened and it was as if a light filled the room. A beautiful woman in her 50s, well dressed with gorgeous shortly cropped silver hair, sailed into the room. She went right up to the office window and greeted everyone. Obviously she was a regular patient. She asked everyone intentionally about their Thanksgiving plans, and wished them all a happy holiday. I noticed she was wearing a long skirt with nice white sneakers. I looked again and noticed that she had a light limp. And then I looked again and realized she had a brace on one leg for support, and on the other---no leg at all, but an artificial, mechanical leg.
She finally sat down and engaged the waiting mother-with-the-new-knee in conversation (remember, I had my nose in a book, but obviously wasn't terribly focused on my book.) She again asked all about Thanksgiving plans, down to the details of the menu and who would cook what. What an art she had in conversation! Then the mother turned the talk around and asked the silver haired lady questions. "I can't help but notice you have only one leg, yet you are so happy. By watching you today, and how beautiful you are inside and out, I realize my problems are small, and how I need to count my blessings."
The silver haired lady replied in such a gracious manner, "Oh, I can handle this, because I am alive! I have had severe diabetes for years and needed a kidney replacement as dialysis did not work. Oh April Fool's Day some years ago I got a call at 2 am saying they had a kidney and a pancreas for me. My body accepted the transplant beautifully and all was well until I got a blood clot in my foot. They had to amputate my leg. But I could so easily have died. Losing a leg is nothing. And it is all the Lord. He got me through it, and HE gives me joy each day."
This silver haired beauty positively glowed. I felt like I was on holy ground. It was an experience I will never forget. At this Thanksgiving, though I may fret over some challenges in life, there is SO much to be thankful for.
Reposted from November 2008. See Chari's blog for more Sunday reposts.