11.8.10

Smiles


"Do you remember me?" she asks as she stands before me face all smile and glowing health.  I recognize the face and know it doesn't belong here, in my personal life, at my brother's wedding.  But I flounder a moment as I try to place her, wishing I could remember her name.  Then, Oh!  Yes.  Just that morning her name called to me while placing name cards on the tables.  I dismissed it knowing it would take too long to recall who she was, and where I knew her from.  But now here she is, eager to reacquaint years after we saw each other regularly at the reception desk of the chemotherapy treatment clinic.  She was the patient, I was the clerk.  She brought her stuffed animals, I brought my frantic efforts to keep ahead of the work and an aching heart wanting to help, and we both brought our smiles.

"You were my favourite secretary!"  she exclaims.  "I was?" I ask, amazed.  I always hoped I was making a difference.  But I never knew if I did.  "You always smiled and were so friendly." she explains.  Wonder replaces my words.  I remember the stress of those days, the demanding work, the emotional havoc.  There was always so much paperwork to manage, appointments to juggle, distressing telephone calls to make, schedule changes to arrange, and patient after patient who exited this life and the cancer torment.  But she remembers my smiles.  I am reminded of her's too.  She was one of my favourite patients because she always smiled despite her looming treatments.  I should have told her that.  Thankfully she has received her reward for those days - health.  And now I received mine, the knowledge that my presence impacted her life.  What ecstatic joy this knowledge brings!  The wonder of God's grace is extended to me this day in an unexpected meeting.  It is a taste of heaven, and His smiles on my life.  I will live now so this experience is repeated some day when all sorrow is replaced with joy.  In eternity I want to discover that my faith has eternal impact.  I want to meet the fruit of my labours, to see the agony of now transformed in the joy of heaven's smiles.  sigh.