By Beth Praed
I was in a crab-apple mood. My alarm clock hadn’t gone off. I hadn’t had time for breakfast, and then I was late for work. When I was getting out of my car, my leg caught on the dashboard and I ripped my pantyhose. To top everything off, the office coffee pot was broken. Why does everything bad happen to me? I pondered. At least I could walk over to the mall in downtown Atlanta to buy some lunch and a new pair of hose.
I was waiting on the street corner for the light to change when I noticed the man standing beside me. He had a white cane. I glanced quickly into his face, saw the characteristic white color of his pupils, and realized that he was blind. I began to think, Why is someone like him standing on a street corner? He can’t possibly cross by himself. I was in a hurry. I paused for a moment and then I reluctantly said, “Do you need assistance?”
“Oh yes,” he said. “Would you mind helping me cross the street?”
When the light changed, he held onto my arm as we slowly crossed the busy intersection. When we got to the other side, he thanked me and I started on my way. But then I stopped. I know you’re in a hurry, but you just can’t leave him there!
“Where do you need to go?” I asked him. “To the mall,” he answered me. Honestly, I was bugged as we walked the three blocks to the entrance. What kind of emergency could there possibly be that would cause him to do something like this? So, my curiosity got the best of me and I asked him, “What are you planning on doing at the mall?” “It is my friend’s birthday, and I want to get her a card,” he told me.
And then I got really nosy and asked, “How can you come all the way to downtown Atlanta by yourself, and how were you planning on crossing the street?” Then he told me, “When I get to the street corner, I begin to pray and ask God to send a good person to help me. I then just stand there and wait until He sends the person that He has chosen.”
Suddenly, I felt very ashamed. Was this self-serving individual really the good person that God had sent to help this blind man? By this time, he and I had reached the mall. I then stepped further outside my comfort zone and said, “Would you like for me to help you pick out a card?” “Oh, could you? That would be wonderful!” he rejoiced.
We then walked into the Hallmark store and began to look at cards. I looked a few over, described what was on the front cover, and read the inside sentiment to him. He chose the card with the birds on the front. He then dropped a twenty-dollar bill on the counter and waited for the cashier to hand him his change.
As we were walking back to the subway, I asked, “How do you know that she didn’t rip you off?” “I don’t,” he said. “I have found, however, that God has created many wonderful people, and I trust that He will continue to watch over me.”
I swallowed hard and began to notice what a lovely day that it was. The sun was shining, the birds were singing, and it was a perfect day to take a walk with a friend. As I helped Frank onto the subway, I thanked him for spending time with me and then hurried back to the office.
When I strolled back into work, things were great. The coffee pot still wasn’t working, I hadn’t had lunch, and my co-worker pointed out that my hose were badly ripped. “Oh yes, thank you.” I nodded to her with a smile as I sat back down at my desk.
But those things didn’t bother me. Frank’s trust in God was amazing and was far superior to mine. Spending an hour with him was uplifting to me. Frank saw what was really important in life and had trusted in God with an unfaltering faith. Perhaps the person who was blind to God’s graces had actually been me. So, God blessed me on that lovely day by giving me the privilege of spending an hour with Frank.
Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12).
Excerpted from So You Have a Disease, by Beth Praed. Copyright © 2020. Used by permission of CrossLink Publishing. All rights reserved.
Beth Praed’s first book on MS was the best-selling book on multiple sclerosis at Amazon for over six years. Beth Praed (formerly Beth Hill) is a published author of four books, Multiple Sclerosis: Q&A, The AD/HD Book, My Freedom from Abuse, and the children’s book Moo the Ghost, which was illustrated by her father, Jack Praed. Beth holds two master’s degrees and is a regular public speaker on domestic violence issues.