It was our monthly checkup at the chiropractor. For some reason, although we always go in at the same time, I’m finished long before my wife is; and so it was this week that I found myself sitting in the waiting room with a couple of other patients.
Normally I’m very shy and keep to myself, but the lady across from me was quite the opposite. She was an older lady who walked with a cane. Mask mandates were still in place in medical settings in our area, so all we could see of each other’s faces was our eyes. And hers were dancing merrily, with far more spirit than I might have expected for someone of her age.
It only took about 30 seconds for her to strike up a conversation with me. Under different circumstances, the prospect of a conversation with a total stranger would have terrified me. Besides being shy, I was still in the midst of what had recently been diagnosed as a moderate Alzheimer’s, which had severely handicapped my ability to understand even the most basic conversation or find even the simplest word. I usually hid behind my wife and let her do the talking, and that was my first reaction with this lady as well! As she looked me square in the eye and began asking questions, I found myself forgetting that my wife was still with the chiropractor, and I looked around quickly to see why she wasn’t answering! Right. She wasn’t there. That meant I would either appear incredibly rude, or I would have to try to answer this lady…
Breathing a prayer for help, I smiled behind my mask and asked her to repeat her question. To my astonishment, I understood and was able to formulate a coherent response.
As it turned out, she was a very nice lady indeed. Even though there were others in the waiting room, she only talked to me, and within a few minutes, we were chatting as if we were long-lost friends. I know my speech wasn’t perfect throughout this time, but she certainly seemed to understand, and she didn’t make fun of me. It was the nicest waiting room experience I could have hoped for. Despite my handicap, she made me feel good and important.
All too soon, she was called in for her appointment, and my wife came out.
I know that this exchange made this elderly lady as happy as it did me, and all it took was a little conversation. Why is it that we don’t strike up conversations with those around us more often? After all, the Bible tells us, “Let each of us please his neighbour for his good, to build him up.” (Romans 15:2 ESV). I know that we can all blame the smart phones and how everyone is always bent over their personal screen; however, I’ve been around a lot longer than the smart phone, and I know that even before their time, people hesitated to strike up conversations with strangers. I don’t know why, but I want to do something about it. If all it takes is a little conversation to make someone’s day, then I want to be doing that as often as possible!
And think about the windows of opportunity for witnessing that this would open up…
Will you join me?
Director, Answers2Pryer Ministries