The Moment

by | May 15, 2013 | Christmas, Encouragement, God's Hands

I’ve never seen him sitting anywhere else. Even as I pull up along side their modest one bedroom apartment I can see in the front door.

As always he is at his kitchen table. It’s small and very cluttered. There is only one chair for anyone visiting. One is more than enough for two reasons.

Both he and his wife are in wheelchairs.

No one visits.

They look poor by every measure one might have for being poor. He needs a haircut and can’t spare the money for one and his wife would love the attention a hairstylist would give her. Thanks out of the question.

He lives in sweatpants and old tattered t-shirts. She is always in housecoats faded from years of use. They barely survive on social security.

The apartment is on one level in a development built for low income residents. Access is easy with parking nearby.

This is the third time I’ve been there. They needed someone to go grocery shopping even though a relative lives close by.

His list isn’t very long but each item is very specific. “One pound of straight balogna,” he says.

“Do they have crooked balogna?” I ask.

He politely smiles and says, “They’ll know at the deli.”

We go over item by item and with each he explains what “NOT” to get as well.

“I don’t what the store brand. It’s too dry,”

Then he asks for six bananas. Always six. Even though I was just there three days ago.

He hands me money and I carefully count it in front of him in case he made a mistake. I don’t want him to think I did something with it.

I shop for my own home so I know how to grocery shop. He is always amazed when I ask “Seeded or plain?” “Ore Ida fries or store brand?”

It’s what I know. Most guys couldn’t grocery shop on their own. I see them in their cars lined up in front of the store with their dog on their lap.

“Da wife’s inside. I just wait for her,” one man told me.

I hurry through the list and do the best I can.

When I return I always offer to put it away for them.

“No. Just place the things on the table,” he tells me. That’s the cluttered one covered in note books, and medicine. Lots of medicine.

“Now, for Christmas, I will try my best to get back here Monday or Tuesday. If someone else offers to shop for you let them, in case the weather or my schedule changes,” I told him today.

“Okay. Thank you for doing this,” he said.

Then he carefully turns his wheelchair toward me. Placing his arms across his huge stomach he says, “My wife and I would like to wish you and your family a Merry Christmas.”

My heart pounded in my chest.

There it was again. The moment I have told you about before.

There was no sparkle, bangles, bobbles or ribbons.

I did not hear the trumpets sound in heaven nor the voices of a hundred angels singing.

I could not see the bright lights or the star atop a well decorated tree.

No one hummed Silent Night in the background.

But it was everything Christmas was meant to be and more. It was all he had to offer and it was more than any one single gift or the sum of all I will receive this year combined.

It was the whimper of the Christ Child and the sigh of Mary. It was the single beam of light shone down upon the place where He was born. It was the energy that filled the air and the peace that filled the hearts of man. It was the letting go of all my worries, cares and concerns and the hope which caressed my mind.

He said, “My wife and I would like to wish you and your family a Merry Christmas.”

Both he and his wife are dying. They are on hospice. There it is. Do you feel “The Moment?”

Bob Perks


The Moment