As I pushed the stroller up the walk, a familiar sight kept catching my eye- the flag on the corner store. I kept wondering why my eyes seemed pulled toward it. Then I remembered. My word for this year is OPEN. I snapped the pic quickly, one hand on the stroller, one on my camera as we rounded the corner.
Today a few weeks later, I was sitting in an empty waiting room. Dr. Phil was the only voice in the room, emanating from the television and I was trying to tune him out to read my book. A man in a red jacket added to my annoyance when, leaning on his cane, he entered the room and made a couple of comments about the show. I smiled and kept reading until he sank into his chair and said, "I know because my wife left me."
He went on to tell me his story, adding that six years later he still wakes up in the night with the ache in his heart.
"I will never be able to forgive her,"he said without bitterness.
By now, my book was closed on my lap but my heart was open. As he related some of his journey, I silently prayed that God would help me to really hear this man.
"You never know what people are going through, " he said.
"I know," I replied.
I spoke a couple of sentences sharing a tiny fragment of my journey these past five months. I told him how every day I prayed for God's forgiveness to flow through my heart toward the person who had hurt my family so. I shared how I knew the impossiblity of this outside of God.
The door opened and the nurse entered, ready for him.
"What is your first name , sir? I asked.
"Robert,"he replied. "It's Robert."
"Robert, I will be praying for you and your family.
"Thank you,"he said and left.
I was still waiting for my husband when Robert returned. His son had arrived to take him home. By now, the waiting room was packed with people. Before leaving, Robert turned in my direction, smiled with a little nod of the head.
There was a time that my book would have remained open, clearly signaling my discomfort in the start of the conversation. But not today. I felt the gentle nudge of the Holy Spirit to open my ears and my heart.
Perhaps in a week or two, I will forget all about this man and his problems in the light of my life's circumstances. Today I have been saying a prayer for Robert.