Wish I Woulda’

6 Oct

Some people call them regrets.  Other may say, “If only.”  We travel through actions and choices in our lives processing varying degrees of remorse, guilt, and shame.  Either we have done something we wish we hadn’t, or we leave something undone in the wish-I-woulda’  column.  From experience, it seems that repentance restores a sense of peace in the former case. In the latter case, we are left with wishbones, candles on birthday cakes, and shooting stars in hopes that we would have a chance for a do over.  Time machines only work in movies.

The mandatory medical checkup was over and I was standing outside the private hospital waiting for a taxi back to the compound.  The report that was scrambling my thoughts was a mixture of good news/bad news.  Blood pressure…high.  Everything else…normal, including chest x-ray, urinalysis, and multiple blood tests.  I even heard the humming tuning fork with both ears and knew that I wasn’t color blind.  All that, plus consultation with a physician, cost less than $30.00.  Full price, not just co-pay.   “Better than Obamacare,” I congratulated myself.

She was zig-zagging through the crowded street carrying something in front of her under a blanket.  Dressed in the shabby dirty rag dress of the poverty-stricken countryside.  Maybe twenty years old.  When our eyes met, she altered her course, tentatively approaching.  It was then that I could hear the baby crying.  A very young baby has a unique sound.  She brought her hand to her mouth.  The word hungry in Amharic, was a whisper.  I took out my wallet and gave her a small denomination note congratulating myself on my generosity.  “Geta te barek.” she  murmered.  Oh, “God Bless you,”  I reflected because I understood her words.

Then she turned and quickly disappeared…my self righteous pride drained away.  Face slapped by the conviction of misappropriated vanity.  On her back, hidden from a frontal view, was the twin of  the one crying at her breast.  A voice was prodding my soul, “What kind of blessing have you just been given in the cost of your medical care?” and, “What kind of blessing did you just share?”

By retreating into the world of how much of my money I saved for myself, I had missed the opportunity to share real hope with a heart.  My gift could have been multiplied by one hundred and it would not have begun to make an impact on my life.  Maybe its, “Been there, done that,” you say.  I hope this wish-I-woulda’ moment will spawn new opportunities with different outcomes.

One Response to “Wish I Woulda’”

  1. Ed Schwartz October 6, 2012 at 5:36 am #

    Thanks for sharing… sadly it feels all to close to home.

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