We Never Know…

Reprinted from Our Franciscan Fiat

Last evening, I was again working as personal care aide here at St. Anne’s Guest Home.  I often take the back stairs and pass hurriedly by some residents’ room on my way to tend to the needs of a few of their floor-mates.

IMG_1012If I know the person is there, I try to call out a friendly greeting to them.  If time allows, I stop and exchange a few words, asking how they are doing.  I think it is important.  It’s not that I’m so special and they should feel privileged to see me, or anything of that sort.  However, it is an opportunity to cheer a person up, or simply show them that someone genuinely cares about them and is interested in them.

Last night, as I went past a particular resident’s room, I was in a hurry.  I didn’t have lots of time to stop and visit.  I did, however, make the effort to give a friendly greeting, hopefully, showing that I cared…

I have found myself hurrying past a room with a quick ‘hello’ and then stopping, turning around, and giving them a few extra seconds.  It sometimes strikes me: “Nothing you have to do is that important that it can’t wait 30 seconds.  Go back there and show them they’re important.”

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This morning, at about 3:45 a.m., I woke up to the sound of the phone ringing at our convent.  Sr. Rebecca got around to answering it before I did.  She carried on a bit of a conversation with the caller.  When they had hung up, I learned that one of our residents had just died, the one whose room I had passed on my evening rounds just hours before.

Although I hadn’t had much time to visit, at least I had made the effort to greet him.

We never know what will be our last opportunity to do good to another person, or even what effect a kind word or gesture can have.  I guess this is a lesson to me never to neglect any opportunity to serve Christ in another person.  We’re not guaranteed another chance.

Sr. Christina M. Neumann