Kindness of a Stranger

You ever have one of those moments where a perfect stranger says or does something that completely makes your day?  This is one of the perks of my job.

I work with every type of person you can imagine.  Babies, toddlers, children, teenagers, adults, the elderly, people of all ages.  People with mental and/or physical disabilities.  People who don’t speak English.  People who are certifiably insane.  Somedays its a blessing.  Somedays its a challenge.

I spend most of my days working in the clinic portion of our facility doing eye exams and different types of diagnostic testing.  Some of my patients are talkers, some don’t say anything past reading the eye chart.  One of our main services in our office is cataract surgery, so we see a lot of the 60+ crowd.  These people tend to be the biggest talkers, because lets face it, I’m probably one of the only people they’ve had to talk to all week.  A lot of them like to tell me about their family {who probably rarely visits} or brag about their grandchilden {pictures included} or sadly, tell me about their spouse who is terribly sick or even worse has recently been laid to rest {I have a hard time keeping it together when these types of stories come about. My hormones just can’t take it!}.

Among all of those topics, I get a handful of people everyday who like to ask about myself.  Where am I from? Am I married?  Is that my natural hair color? {Seriously…and I’m a brunette!}  How long have I been doing this?  Do I like my job?  How can I know so much when I don’t look like I’m old enough to be out of high school? {That ones my favorite…hehe…obviously these people have vision problems, but it still makes me feel good!}  But the one question I get asked at the very minimum at least once a day {but usually more} is: Do you have children?

I usually skirt around the question, saying, “Not yet!” or “We’re working on it!” with a fake smile plastered on my face.  Because I do not have the time nor sanity to spill my guts about my situation to every single person who asks this question.  I usually get a polite response like, “Oh, don’t worry, you have plenty of time,” {because apparently I look younger than I actually am to these people} or some sort of words of wisdom about raising children.  I nod and smile sweetly and then get about my business.

A few months ago I was doing an exam on a lady, probably in her late 60s, early 70s.  She and I were having the typical conversation, when she began talking about how she was raising her granddaughter because the mother had “ran off.”  I can’t imagine someone abandoning a child, but I didn’t say much so as to keep my professionalism.  Then the lady went on to tell me how shocked she was because the mother had tried so hard for children, and ended up having to adopt this little girl, only to decide later that she couldn’t handle it.  By this point I couldn’t keep it in.  I was almost in tears myself as I told the lady how terribly this broke my heart.  I gave her a brief version of my story, and in the nicest way possible told her that I couldn’t understand how someone could even contemplate doing something like that.

The lady of course gave me much sympathy, and told me how much she hoped that I would finally get my baby.  Before I left her for the doctor to see her, she asked for my name.  I told her, and she said that she would put me on the prayer list at her church.  I was beyound touched and grateful, and beyond emotional.  But that’s not where the story ends.

Yesterday, the lady came back into the clinic, this time for a consult for cataract surgery.  I didn’t do her workup, nor did I even know she was in the building.  She was sitting in a chair in a hallway, waiting to have measurements done, when I walked past her and she called out my name.  I turned back to her and smiled.  She did look familiar, but I couldn’t quite place her.  We have so many regular patients that come in.  Then she asked, “Are you pregnant yet?”  So I smiled and said, “Not yet.”  Then she told me, “Well, I just want you to know that I haven’t forgotten about you.  I still pray for you every night, and you’re still on the prayer list at church.”  An ocean of emotions washed over me as I remembered who she was.  It was all I could do to sputter our the words ‘Thank you.’  I briefly told her we’re still hopeful and have started a new medicine that seems promising.  As I told her goodbye and that I would see her in surgery, she said, “You know, I don’t even really know you, but I can tell you’re going be a great mother.”  There really aren’t any words to describe how that made me feel.

It really pulls me back down to reality.  Most of the time I am the most selfish person in the world.  Always thinking about myself and my situation, wondering why I have to have these problems when things seem to come so easily for others, assuming that the entire world is revolving around me and my jacked up lady parts.  And then there’s this person, this perfect stranger who has met me once and doesn’t even know my last name, who has set aside a place in her thoughts and her prayers and her heart for me.

To know that there are people out there rooting for me that I may not even know about…

Truly.  Amazing.

Good things will happen for us.  All of us.