Sometimes we meet folks just to guide us for a few minutes. They become mentors to something special. They leave an imprint inside the heart through a word and a memory. Then when we least expect it later on that memory is retrieved. We return to those moments with an AHA sense of wonder. This is how I know that meeting Philip yesterday in Mission Hospital was extraordinary. I spent the day with my cousin who was sick in the ER. Philip is a volunteer and the moment he saw me come in he brought me a Canada dry “to hydrate.” Throughout the day he would make his rounds, making sure that I was taken care of in every way while my cousin laid hooked up to the monitors and being tended to with care.

You need to hydrate. She’s being watched. You need to eat. I can take you to the cafeteria. That’s the thing about patients…they get their care but their loved ones get sick watching them in these moments.” We spoke several times as he kept checking on me. A handsome man in his seventies with sparkling deep blue eyes. I told him he had the loveliest eyes. He said, “They are cold eyes. People from Mexico always tell me that they are cold eyes since theirs are dark. Some people look into my eyes and they get scared.”

My husband has blue eyes. There is nothing cold about such sweet deep gentle eyes.” I answered in fascination of what I was seeing through the windows of his soul. Then I continued asking how many days a week he volunteers.

My wife was sick. I was here a lot with her. I made a promise that if she got better I would volunteer to cheer others who were watching their loved ones under these stressful conditions. I began to come for one day and now it’s three days a week. It’s better than television. The drama is fantastic!” He laughed.

“Philip, you are not watching the right shows on TV!” We both giggled. Then I asked, “And your wife…how is she?”

He never answered. I suspect this gentleman keeps himself busy with caring for others the way he did for his wife. We chatted about life and how he is now trying to mend from his bad boy days in youth just so he can get into Heaven when he dies.

Philip left. I meant to take a picture. I kept waiting for him to come around. He never did. I asked about him with the nurses and they had no clue who he was. Sometimes angels just show up. They visit, they share, they teach and then they move on. My cousin and I smiled for some time thinking of his life. It made both of us better. And when I left late last night, feeling horrible for having to leave her on New Years Eve alone I remembered that she wasn’t alone. Philip was somewhere in that hospital making sure she was love and nurtured.

Always be kind to strangers. You never know who you are entertaining in the name of the Divine. May you enter this new year with complete awareness of our connections to each other.
With love always…