Our morning was interrupted with the awful news that one of the hospital employees died suddenly and unexpectedly during the night. He was not only a leader in the hospital, but one in the church and community as well. He was highly respected . . . always ready with a kind smile, gentle word or a good joke.
Yesterday there was work being done on the hospital waterlines, so for a few hours, there was no running water in the hospital. I needed to wash my hands, and word on the street was they had water in his department. So I quick went that way and just before I pulled water from the bucket, he came running over and told me it would cost me 600cfa PER DROP! So, I began counting.
It was our last conversation.
I did not work closely with this man, but I did interact with him on a daily basis. At first I was a little intimidated by him, but over the weeks and months he proved to just be a big softy.
Walking to the funeral this evening, I was struck by the mass number of people who came to pay their respects. He made a large impact and is leaving a gaping hole.
Standing there in the sea of the community, I began to think about the importance of 'the passers-by' in our everyday lives. We don't only affect those we are close to. The guy mopping the floor outside my office . . . the plastic cup vendor on my walk into town . . . or the guy selling limes on the side of the road . . . the guard outside the hospital gate. Some of them know me by name, others by the nickname they've assigned me.
But regardless, we interact . . . and my question this evening was 'Am I intimidating or am I a big softy?' How do the passers-by in my life see me. Am I the impatient-foreigner-who-is-so-task-oriented-I-can't-stop-to-greet-them, or, like Jesus, am I being attentive to the hemorrhagic woman in the crowd? Am I too-cranky-from-the-heat (or just because I'm cranky) to stop and buy some limes, or, like Jesus, am I pointing the woman at the well to the Light?
Who am I to the ones that don't have the opportunity to break in deeper than surface? Do they see Deb. or do they see Jesus?