At first glance it’s easy to see that Paul is a senior citizen, maybe a senior, senior citizen even. He has a cane, hands that are gnarled, and what hair he has is snow white. All of this is taken in at a glance as you walk up to the information desk at Reston Hospital, but then, just as you lean on the counter to ask your question, you look into his eyes. Paul’s eyes twinkle – really twinkle – and they look into yours with joyful expectancy, as if he can’t wait to answer your question.
This particular day I needed room information about a person in the ICU. It turned out to be rather complicated. Paul and I spent about fifteen minutes together during which time he made multiple phone calls on my behalf, all the while assuring me we would find the information I desired. The entire time he was kind, calm and helpful. As I told him goodbye and began to thank him for his help he stopped me and said, “It is I who was privileged to help you. Go visit your friend and I pray that you carry with you peace and hope.”
Wow. As I walked toward the ICU I reflected on his words, peace and hope. What would it mean to live remembering that I carry with me peace and hope? Sometimes it is natural in life to pick up fear and anxiety; they are the by-products of a broken world. But what if when we encountered situations that naturally lead to anxiousness we remembered we have a generous supply of peace and hope? My new friend Paul reminded me that even in the most difficult of times we are not without the ability to find hope and peace and that the words found in the letter to the Philippians are true, “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” Paul was a special servant to me this week and I am so grateful for his reminder that carry with me the peace of Christ wherever I go.