37: Let Me In

37: Let Me In

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Miracles Happen

Let Me In

… I was a stranger and you invited Me in.

~Matthew 25:35

“What’s taking so long? Move out of the way! Other people have places to be too!” The construction in front of the Emergency Room entrance was more than I could handle, and the cars trying to find parking places for the physicians’ offices were beyond frustrating. The hospital complex parking lot was congested with construction workers, cranes, and people all coming and going. On top of that, it was July, and I know Hell was probably cooler that day!

As usual, I was running late. So late that I was actually running dressed in my suit, my hose, and my heels! I was exhausted and just needed to park and run some equipment into the respiratory department. It would only take a couple of seconds, and then I could pick up my baby girl. At that time in my life, it felt like she was always the first one dropped off at daycare and the last one picked up. I had promised her that morning she would not be the last one today, and I could not bear the thought of being late again.

I found a parking place, whipped in, grabbed what I needed, and headed for the building. As I passed through the first set of sliding doors, I saw a woman standing there. She looked lost or like she was waiting for someone. It wasn’t that I didn’t care, but she was a stranger, and I was in a hurry. I shuffled past her, dropped off the equipment, and headed back to my car.

I noticed her again on my way out. When I was almost to my car, I could hear Him saying, “Go back.”

“Not today God,” I thought. “I really have places I need to be, and it’s going to take me forever to get out of this parking mess and even longer to get to the daycare! Then I have to run by the grocery store, because I realized at breakfast that we were out of milk! Please God, not today.”

He did not let up though, and I felt the lump in my throat getting bigger and bigger. I knew I didn’t really have a choice. “Fine! Fine!” I said out loud, throwing my hands up in the air. At which point, I noticed a couple watching me from the sidewalk. Clearly, they could not hear God speaking to me, but they could see me talking to myself. “Great!” I thought. “Maybe I’ll be admitted and can have a nice long vacation!”

I headed back to the hospital. My heart pounded nervously, and I knew God had a reason to turn me around. Most people don’t take kindly to strangers butting in because God said they should, but I could sense this was different. The automatic sliding doors opened, and I stepped inside. I glanced at the woman for a second. She was probably in her seventies and very beautiful, but she seemed so fragile. Then, for the first time, I really saw her. I could see the emptiness, the loss.

At that moment, her face glowed, and my heart softened. I heard God’s voice gently saying, “Let me in,” and I let her in. I put my arms around the woman and began to pray. She was shaking and held on to me so tightly. Then she began sobbing and I felt the release of all her emotions as I stood, holding us both up. Time passed, people passed, and I began to cry with her. So many things went through my mind. I kept thinking about her standing there alone, keeping her composure, and just desperately waiting for someone, anyone, to notice her pain. I felt ashamed of almost missing that divine appointment.

Then she began to speak softly, telling me that she and her husband of many wonderful years had been to lunch earlier that afternoon. As they waited for their food, he complained of chest pain, and then immediately he went into cardiac arrest and died. The paramedics tried to revive him but he was truly gone. She explained that he had not been sick and had never had any heart problems. She talked about the plans they had and the things they had yet to do. She had lost track of time. She didn’t know how long she had been there, waiting for family to arrive from out of town, and I stayed with her.

She held my face in her hands, and she brushed my hair back the way my mom always did. She called me her angel and thanked God for sending me. I had no idea what to say, but God gave me the words she needed to hear. I reminded her how much God loved her and that He was with her and with her husband. We stood together a bit longer.

Then she saw her family pulling into the parking lot. She pointed them out, hugged me, and thanked me again for waiting with her. As I walked way, I thought about all the strangers I had passed who were hurting, needing a smile, a kind word, or a shoulder to lean on. Surprisingly, I made it out of the parking lot with no traffic problems, and I made every green light on the way to get my daughter. I stopped to get milk and found an extra $20 dollar bill folded up in the side pocket of my purse, so we had ice cream too! I made it home earlier than I had in weeks, and my little princess was happy and healthy.

I’ve thought back to that day several times over the years. I never knew her name, I never saw her again, but she changed my life. I knew the divine appointment was as much for me as it was for her.

~Chrissy Conner

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