The snow was falling and its beauty magnified by rows of amber street lights. It was a light snow and was for me a reminder of Robert Frosts, Stopping by the ‘Woods on a Snowy Evening’. Tonight, I was doing heating service calls in Milton and was driving down a narrow residential street off of Central Square.
I spied the service address, parked my van, grabbed my tools and flashlight and began the slow walk up to the home. The snow underfoot was just crunching under my weight and the youth inside me would have instantly reached down to pack a snowball or two to toss at the nearest tree trunk as target practice but with work to do-that would have to wait.
I looked at my work order, confirmed the address then knocked on the front door and completely surprised as the door swung in and got away from me as if on a feather weighted hinge.
Looking in, I saw a man seated at the foot of the stairs with both of his hands covering his face, crying. I identified myself, walked over to him and placed my hand on his shoulder at the same time sensing the chill of his tidy home to be the cause of his distress. Then I told him that I’d have the heat up and running in short order and that this problem would be solved.
“NO, that won’t solve my problems.” looking at me through tear streaked eyes, to which I replied, “Hopefully it will make things a bit better.”
“No, no it won’t.’ He insisted in a mournful cracking voice. And now sensing that there was really something wrong I politely intruded, “Well, what’s wrong, maybe I can be of help?”
He said, “It’s not the heat. Tomorrow I have to go to the hospital for surgery.”
Upon hearing that, I quickly replied, “Just let me get downstairs and I’ll have you comfortable in no time.”
He replied, “No, nothing can help. You see, I have gangrene. It has set into my hands and tomorrow……. the doctors are removing my hands.” And he continued to sob. With that I placed both of my hands on his shoulders and voiced a prayer for him. Then I immediately set about repairing the heat, restored it and found whatever useful thing I could do to aid his discomfort and crisis.
When I arrived home later that night I took care to write into a journal, Thank you dear Lord for my hands, may I always use them wisely.
So you see, for me, work was a mission field. Some folks just don’t get it, Every day is a gift, life lessons are taught and caught. It just depends upon perspective. I have had a very rich work experience and will one day pen many true accounts of divine appointments and unusual stories.
Bill – South Shore Boston – Winter 1978-79