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An Army Angel

Today, a Monday morning, as I approached the hospital cafeteria coffee machine, a tall, clean-cut young man was bent over the counter, pouring creamer into a couple cups of coffee.  You could tell he was an attentive, considerate kind of person in the way he attempted to move in the right direction to allow me access to the coffee as I approached him from behind.  Looking at me directly, his greeting was warm. I inquired whether he was here because he had someone in the hospital.  “Yes, ma’am, my mother is here.” “Are we treating her okay and is she doing better?” “Oh yes, everyone has been great.  She’s probably going home this morning.”  He had a humble, grateful presence about him that made him seem much more mature than the barely over 20 years that he probably was. “Has she been here all weekend?” I asked as I poured my coffee. “She’s actually been here since last Tuesday,” he said and I noticed now that his kind, gentle face showed signs of weariness.  The softness of his face stood in contrast to his strong, physically fit, man-body.  “I had to take a medical leave of absence to be here with her.  Those chair-beds get old after a week.”  “You’re in the military?”  “Yes ma’am.  I’m in the army.  Fort Benning.”  I was astounded and deeply touched.  “You’ve been here all week with your mother?”  “Yes ma’am, I came up here Tuesday to be with her.”  I could feel tears start up in my eyes at the tenderness, the wonder of a “military guy” loving his mother so much that he would be with her night and day at the hospital.  That he would ask for time off from his commander, that he would curl his tall frame into an uncomfortable chair for a week of sleepless nights, that he was so unassuming and yet spoke so appreciatively about the staff’s care of his mother.  I thanked him for his service to our country, for the sacrifices he undoubtedly makes.”  Blushing, he said, “I thank YOU for supporting what we do.”  Saying our “see you laters.” we parted our ways.  My heart was full and yielding.  A son’s devoted love for his mother, unashamed and pure in intent.  The world felt soft and full and hopeful.  I had been touched by a goodness that was bigger than one fine, young man; I had witnessed God’s heart alive and tangible.  Monday morning, coffee and an army angel.  The week can commence!

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