Monday, December 23, 2013

the stuff heroes are made of

I walked into the nursing home cafeteria. 
It smelt like usual: gross. 
There were elderly people sitting around their tables, eating their nursing home food. 
There was one man in the room, however, who was not elderly. 
This man was bent over a handicapped lady who was incapable of feeding herself. 
He was gently placing spoonfuls of food in her mouth. 

"Hi Mike"

"Well, hello, Abbie!"

Mike is my friend and the nursing home chaplain. 
He's as good at his job as anyone I know. 

I stood and talked with him for a few minutes, but he never quit feeding the lady in front of him. 
"This is a picture of the Gospel,"
I thought. 
It's not in his job description to help feed residents.
No one asked him to do this messy, unpleasant job.
Well, no one at the nursing home, anyways.
But Jesus asked him. 
Jesus asked Him to love the least, to love his neighbor as himself, to look after the poor.
And Mike said, "yes."
So here he was, doing for his lady what she could not do for herself. 
No one had a camera to take his picture while doing this noble deed, 
no one had a pen and paper to write an article about him, 
no one was patting him on the back. 
Well, no one at the nursing home, anyways. 

After our quick conversation, I left the cafeteria and went to visit my friends in their room. I told them that I had just bumped into Mike.
They said, 
"Oh! Today is Mike's birthday!"

When I came out, about 40 minutes later, everyone had finished eating and left the cafeteria. 
Everyone but the handicapped lady and Mike, who was still bent over, gently placing spoonfuls of food in her mouth. 

"Happy birthday, Mike! Are you having a good one?"

"Thank you! Yes, I'm having a very good day."

I left him, still bent over, still with spoon in hand. 

That's the way heroes spend their birthday. 
That's the stuff heroes are made of.