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.
If 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