She could be the clerk that just rung up your purchases at the local retail store or the one who helped your loved one eat their lunch in the nursing home or the woman who delivers your mail. She was tall, willowy and attractive. She had just turned 27 and she certainly didn’t want to be there. She apologized for being there. She explained, “If I buy my prescription medication, I can’t pay my rent. Can you help me?” We certainly can write a prescription, but the generic form of the drug she needed was $108.73 for a month at the cheapest place in town. I know because I am the nurse who called all around. A talk with a pharmacist enabled her to get a comparable drug for $15.00! The clinic doctor said that would be fine.
He was a short man and as round as he was tall, but was surprised when the scale said he weighed 258 pounds. “I usually weigh over 300, but I haven’t weighed myself in a long while.” When asked why he was there he said he lost sight in his left eye and now his right eye was blurry in the morning. “I am really scared and I don’t know what to do.” He was told 2 years ago he had diabetes. At that time he was given a 30-day supply of pills, a meter to measure his glucose levels and an appointment to see a diabetes educator. He had no job, no money, no doctor so when the medicine and test strips for the glucose meter ran out, he didn’t do any more. Now his sight in one eye is gone. He called the Community Health Center for those who have Access cards for medical care. He was put on a waiting list for March 2013. Must he lose his second eye before someone will pay attention? He found the church’s medical clinic phone number in some of his deceased mother’s papers. He called.
Folks, I do not have to wonder why I am no longer working as a nurse in the hospital. First, I had to feel what unemployment felt like. I had to soul-search to re-establish my sense of direction and then I had to be with the poor to see Christ and bask in His healing presence. In Ann Voskamp’s list of 10 things you can do to change the world. This is #4
Do whatever it takes to stay with the poor: around the corner, across town, around the world. Make it your lifestyle to live face to face with the needy on a regular basis, because this is a way to stay face to face with Christ.
“He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’” Matthew 25:45