Last week, I was headed to work like any other normal day. It was a sunny day, and I was enjoying my coffee, listening to music, and just enjoying the beauty of the morning. I stopped at a gas station for gum because who wants to talk to someone with coffee breath, right?
As I pulled in the parking lot, I noticed him. He was old, dirty, unkempt, frail looking. He was walking without much purpose across the parking lot, unnoticed by those gassing up their cars or hurrying in and out for their morning dose of caffeine. As I got out of my car, he stumbled and fell, and I rushed to help him up. One other lady met me at his side. I reached down to touch him, and there was no response at all. I thought he had knocked himself unconscious and "nurse Holly" took over.
But he wasn't unconscious. He was dead.
I did CPR as the staff from the gas station called 911 and the lady kept others away, not allowing this to become a spectacle. As I did chest compressions to pump blood to his brain, the gas station attendant said "He walks here all the time, but I don't know his name". He had no wallet, no identification of any kind.There was no one to contact to come and be with him, no way of knowing what his medical history was. He was utterly alone.
EMS arrived with an AED machine to shock his heart, but there was still no response. They took him away wthout many words at all except to ask how long I had done CPR. I later learned that a "John Doe" had been pronounced dead on arrival at a local hospital.
And so it set in...that feeling of "You should have done more, Holly" and "If only you'd been there a few minutes earlier", and "You're not that great of a nurse after all, are you?". Before you go telling me the opposite, please hear this: I know I did all that I could. I simply wish that I could have done more for him. I wanted to save him.
But really, I wish so much more than that for him. I wish he had not been alone. I wish I had known his name to call out to him, instead of just "sir, sir!". I wish that I had known if he had a family, maybe kids somewhere who need to know that he is not here anymore. I was angry that the staff there knew that he walked through the parking lot several times a week, yet not one person knew his name. No one stopped to ask his story. No one cared enough to get involved in his life.
That's not okay. It's not okay that people walk by us every day of our lives, and we turn a blind eye to them. It's not okay that people are in need all around us, lonely, afraid, worried, sad, whatever- and we just let them walk on by. It's not okay that this man didn't have anyone to hold his hand that knew him. It's not okay that he died as "John Doe".
None of this makes sense to me. I know it doesn't have to; I'm not that important that it should be made known to me. But still... I want it to make sense. I want all of life to make sense. I want it all measured out in perfect little pieces, arranged in neat little rows. But it doesn't happen that way, does it? And yet, I still love this life. In all of its uncertainty and unknowns, I love this life I've been given. I want to make the most of each day, and really, that involves not letting people walk past me without really seeing them. I want to grab each day by the horns and really live it, not just be a spectator watching others live. I want to celebrate each breath I'm given because I'm not guaranteed another.
And when my time on earth is done, I want to leave a legacy. I want my name to mean something. I want my children to say that I loved them fiercely, and poured the love of Jesus into them. I want my husband to be able to say that I was an encourager, his biggest fan in life, his best friend, his love. I want my friends to say that I knew them well, that I loved them even better. I want my God to say "well done, good and faithful servant".
Life doesn't always make sense, and I guess that's okay. I trust that I don't have to have it all together to make it count. Thanks be to God.