a tale of two women

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way—…” Thank you, Charles Dickens.

Today I became acquainted with two women who are extremely different. The first, made me completely ashamed to call myself a “Christian” in so many ways. If you follow this blog, you may know that I work in a cancer doctor’s office. You may also know he is a Muslim and that doesn’t bother me. What does, however, bother me, is the attitude of patient #1 today. She was a new referral to the office who insisted she know my bosses religion before she would be seen. We let him answer that directly for her and offered her to go to another office. She declined leaving. However, I spent a RIDICULOUS amount of time with her as she explained, “It’s about religion for me…. It matters… It’s just important to me… I pray to God and he prays to Mohammad.” I’m a southern girl. I can be nice and sweet. I can also be very direct. So I asked, “How is it different if you are white and he is black? He won’t treat you any differently.” “That’s not the same,” she replied. “What if he was Jewish, would that matter?” “I just can’t explain it to you, you don’t know me, but for my reasons, no.” I attempted to go back in church and Biblical history enough to explain to her the gray area she is pressing into, but she wasn’t well-versed enough in the Bible to know where she was going. Closed-minded. Is he going to care for her any differently than anyone else? No. Is she going to get top notch care? Yes. REGARDLESS of her religious preference or feelings toward him. Today, he had more grace and poise than this woman who claimed to be a “Christian”. It makes my stomach churn to even think of her.

The second woman was one of the most stunning examples of Christianity I have ever seen and she never told me she was a Christian. She was standing behind another lady in line for the checkout window. Patient A (in front) was told she had a $211 balance (she’s been paying on it for a while). She politely asked if she could write a check for $20. Of course we said yes. She’s a good patient. She’s struggling. She’s depressed. She’s a cancer survivor but not all survivors are hopeful. Her spouse is also a cancer survivor. She admitted to me today she is depressed but doesn’t want to take meds. Patient B waited patiently for her turn. When she got to the window, she told our checkout girl she didn’t mean to overhear, but she was going to pay that lady’s $211 balance… in full… tear up the $20 check she wrote. Send her a note that says it was paid anonymously, as a gift from God.

What a day. It is the best of times.. it is the worst of times… it is the age of wisdom and the age of foolishness…

Father God, help me to see your ways this clearly everyday. Thank you, Lord, for shining examples of your Love. Please open the eyes of my first patient today. Help her to see you work in many vessels, not just the ones she expects.

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