As many of you know, my mom has been battling cancer and spends quite a bit of time at the Huntsman Cancer Institute. She was recently checked back in due to some complications stemming from radiology. While she was getting settled in her room, I was at the pharmacy lamenting my life.
You see, I have psoriatic arthritis which causes me quite a bit of swelling and pain in my knees when storms abound - and as of late here in Salt Lake, its easier to count the days of sunshine than days without precipitation. As I was looking out over the valley at more stormy clouds, a gentleman with the biggest smile I'd ever seen illuminated even further by a backdrop of ebony skin, came and sat down next to me.
He said,"Isn't it a beautiful day?"
I looked at him like he was daft.
He proceeded to ask why I was there and listened patiently to my woes about taking care of a mother when my legs hurt so badly. And then not wanting to appear too shallow, I asked why he was there.
"I have cancer in both of my legs," he said, "and the good doctors up here are trying to save them so I can continue with my passion and coaching".
I truly felt like an idiot.
He told me that he'd been orphaned in Africa but had been blessed with a talent and a love for soccer. That had lead him to playing professionally for his country. But when his legs started aching and becoming weaker, he accepted a position here in the states to coach.
He then found out he had cancer and was facing amputation.
He was the sole provider for himself. He was not married and he did not have any other skills other than what he'd learned as a soccer player. He had taken the bus - a ride with transfers that had taken him over an hour - to get to the pharmacy at Huntsman to get his medications.
"But who will take care of you on those days when chemo has taken all you have or when this disease has won the battle for the day?"
He graciously smiled and pointed one long dark finger towards heaven. "The man upstairs. He has always taken care of me and He will continue to take care of me."
With that he picked up his prescription, blessed everyone with his big smile, offered his glad tidings and limped off to the bus stop.
Now as another storm rolls in, I don't think about the pain in my own legs. I think about this man with simple faith and a smile that shines brighter than any celestial star ever could.
And that image somehow manages to make the skies a little less gray.