Left leg crossed over right knee, I bounced it out of boredom, partly, and partly out of irritation. The clock behind the receptionist counter revealed the Pediatric Ophthalmologist to be 30 minutes behind schedule and nothing in the pages of the Health magazine between my fingers was to hold my attention or the attention of my 3 young children in tow.
Grace, Teresa, have some grace. (Sigh)
The door opened from which an assistant called the name of the child that came in 10 minutes after we arrived for our appointment. Certain that she heard the scathing comment said under breath, I placed the magazine upright so to avoid eye contact. It slipped, I promise.
Patience, Teresa, have some patience. (Sigh)
Kids settled in to reading some books held by the sparse shelf and I leaned my head back determined not to blow a gasket. Another door opened. Another patient.
“I dare them to try to let those kids be seen before mine.” The thought raced toward my tongue sparred by the blatant entitlement I claimed from the “I was here first” argument.
The young mom, toddler and baby carrier in tow, approached the counter, stated her child’s name and time of appointment. Eyes still closed, I assume heightened hearing or angels whispered what I shouldn’t have been able to decipher from where I sat.
Young mom: “Uhm, so, can you tell me about how much this visit will cost today.”
Receptionist: “That’s right, you don’t have coverage, correct?”
Young mom: “Right.”
Shame, discouragement, embarrassment even, and a touch of fear encumbered that simple word she spoke. Heavy enough I had to open my eyes, I had to see her.
With a casual glance, I turned toward them. She was cute, well dressed, not at all reflective of the weighted nature of her voice.
My heart thrashed from inside my chest. A shove from God that I was to be alert, take notice.
Young mom: Is that a problem? I was told…
Receptionist: No, we will work out payment.
More words were exchanged but the words that screamed in my head drowned out any hope of eaves dropping any further.
Another assistant opened the door, called the name of the young mom’s child and to my earlier objection, they were immediately taken back to a room.
“Ok, okay! I get it, God. I get it.”
Big deep breath, hands trembled, I approached the desk.
“Excuse me, I know this is going to sound odd, and, well, I wasn’t trying to be nosy, but, that gal that just went back, I would like to pay for her office visit today.”
Receptionist: “oh, uh, wow, I guess you can do that, I mean, I don’t know, this has never happened, let me talk to the office manager. Wait here.”
She exited the lobby. I turned my back to the counter and gazed upon the gift of my children, thankful that they want for no need, and most likely never will.
Receptionist: “It looks like all you have to do is write a check for the amount shown here.” She hands me a piece of paper. “Then we will not need to charge the young lady a dime for today.”
My hand shook as I wrote the amount on the line, not because it was more than I thought, but because I knew the Spirit was driving me.
Again, the door opened, from which an assistant called my childrens names.
“Sorry,” she began, “somehow your file went to the bottom. I apologize for the oversight and making you wait so long.”
I just smiled. “It wasn’t an oversight at all, it was perfect timing.”
A few weeks passed and I received the following note in the mail from the office manager at our Pediatric Ophthalmologist:
Dear Ms. Ahrendt, I was made aware of the generosity you extended to one of our patients while in our office. When mom was made aware of this anonymous act of kindness, she was astounded, speechless and eventually through tears, managed to ask if we would extend a thank you. I told her I would – You’ve inspired us all.
Listen to the nudges and pass the love!