As I made the important decision this morning between Frosted Mini-wheats and egg and toast, you sobbed quietly in your hospital bed. Your tiny wisp of a child died in the night—born early. Your arms were empty.
While I perused the early morning aisles comparing prices, checking off my list, mentally mapping out the week’s menu, you hid in the rocks and bushes from rebel troops. Desperate mother hands tried to shush little mouths as men with guns threw your meager treasures about.
At lunch, I fixed my special fresh vegetable salad and diet soda, intent on being faithful to my weight-loss plan. You sifted through the dumpster in the alley for that one morsel that might relieve the silent gnawing—even for a moment.
I filled up with regular unleaded at 2:00, complaining all the while at the ridiculously high price of gasoline. I thought about writing a letter to the editor while you shifted sore and cracked feet along hot dirty paths. You were on your way to a refugee camp with so many other victims of the bloody civil war.
At 4:00, I berated myself for not having thawed meat for supper. What was I thinking! I decided to blow both the diet and the budget and go get burgers and fries. As I hopped in the car and popped in a blues CD, you made funeral arrangements for your young wife—mother of your three children, another breast cancer victim.
We slipped a comedy into the DVD player at 7:00 and laughed till we cried. We air-popped popcorn and refilled our sodas while you frantically performed CPR on your toddler. Minutes before, you had found him in the pool face-down, still wearing his Big Bird pajamas.
I gave myself a facial and dressed for bed. When I picked up my Bible for a few minutes of devotions, my eyes fell on the young lawyer’s question in Luke 10:29: “And who is my neighbor?” Mmm. Lord, I am to love You with all my heart, soul, strength, and mind. That seems a difficult enough task. But to love my neighbor, too, just like I love myself? Well . . . I’m not sure how to do that. Who is my neighbor, Lord . . . really?
I highlighted the passage, then placed my Bible back on the nightstand. As I switched off the light, you paced your prison cell—back and forth, back and forth. Fingering the seeping bandage, you wondered if you’d live through another day like this one, long enough to make parole.
. . . I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for Me.
(Matthew 25:40 NIV)