She sat in the patient waiting area writing down everything that had just happened. The last line on the page read "I think I saw Jesus today".
Last week I was at the Jericho Road Family Practice on Genesee Street in the Eastside of Buffalo. I was talking with Takesha Leonard, one of the nurse practitioners who has become a good friend of mine, and she told me the following story.
A woman walked into Jericho Road Family Practice looking for help and information concerning diabetes. The receptionist, Yvette, told her the diabetes specialist was not present that day. Yvette recognized the woman was disheartened and told her she could still make an appointment, but when the woman learned the practice was not a free clinic, she again was discouraged and ready to leave. Yvette was burdened by the woman's despair and told Takesha, who had a room full of patients waiting to see her. She told Yvette to keep the woman from leaving and to encourage her that she could still be helped. The woman didn't want to stay. Yvette insisted she wait to talk to Takesha. The woman told Yvette she did not have money to pay for an appointment and was getting ready to leave when Takesha came out of the office to tell Yvette she could talk to the woman. As the woman turned to leave, Takesha pleaded to talk to her and asked the woman to come into her office. For the next hour Takesha sought to hear this woman's story. Slowly the woman began lowering her guard. The woman had recently become homeless when her son was shot and killed in the project they lived. Only her son's name was on the housing agreement, so she was left homeless after his death. She now lives in her car in the community that Jericho Road Family Practice is located. Takesha asked the woman if she had food, but the woman did not want any assistance. Then Takesha offered to get a personal refrigerator for her that she could keep in the clinic's break room, but the woman declined as she had nothing to offer in return. Takesha responded "I don't want anything from you, this is how I show Christ's love, serving the community the only way I know how." The woman began to weep for the pure heart she was receiving from Takesha and Yvette who just wanted to love and care for her. The woman made her way to the waiting room as Takesha began to see her patients again. For the next half hour the woman wrote in her journal about what had transpired and the last line on the page read "I think I saw Jesus today".
The next day Yvette called the woman to see how she was doing and the woman was writing an obituary for a family friend who had passed.
I recently asked Yvette if the woman has returned to the practice and she said she has a few times with a different expression on her face, one of hope. The woman knows she has not been forsaken.
I came across this beautiful scripture the day I heard this story from Jericho Road. It speaks to our Heavenly Father's heart for the discouraged, "the least of these"...
"When the poor and needy seek water, and there is none, and their tongue is parched with thirst, I the LORD will answer them; I the God of Israel will not forsake them. I will open rivers on the bare heights, and fountains in the midst of the valleys. I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water. I will put in the wilderness the cedar, the acacia, the myrtle, and the olive. I will set in the desert the cypress, the plane and the pine together, that they may see and know, may consider and understand together, that the hand of the LORD has done this, the Holy One of Israel has created it." Isaiah 41:17-20