We were all sitting in the dining hall of San Antonio Military Medical Center (formerly BAMC) on Fort Sam. Mary was having her sweat collected for her Cystic Fibrosis testing. We were trying to eat and enjoy our lunch, but our hearts were heavy and fearful. My sweet girls talked together and played and laughed.
And then he walked through.
I confess, I nearly choked though praise God he didn’t hear it. He sat down facing me further down the wall at a booth. I could see him squarely from my seat. And I tried so hard not to cry.
He was burned so badly there was nothing left of his face. Just a shell of his nose and holes for his eyes. His hands were only partially still there. He was tall. He stood tall.
And carried on.
I don’t know who he was. I don’t know how it happened, though I can only assume some sort of military service.
I do know that my two tiny precious girls, without being bidden, walked down to the man and said hi. Giggled. Waved.
And he smiled. And laughed.
They never noticed how different he was. Not even my three year old. I expected questions from her. Innocent questions. But she never asked. She just talked to him. His face blushed. Mary smiled her cheesy 18-month old smile over and over again.
They never saw what I saw. The pain. The loss. The scars.
They saw a human being. A man. They somehow sensed his need for joy. And they gave it to him.
Oh, that I could be a child in my heart again and do the same. My heart ached for the man. I was overjoyed that my girls filled his heart with happiness. Gave him love. Saw a man.
And valued the person.