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Ask not what your brother can do for you, ask what you can do for your brother.
Maybe this was Jim and maybe it was Eric.
Who among us is so blameless that they can throw the first stone against their brother?
More important is the question: Who among can catch the first stone thrown at us and then gracefully throw it to the ground? We are beginning to capture and live in a "me" generation again and it is not so pretty. We are beginning to drift away into an abyss of "me" again. But if you read this you will be saved from that abyss -- I promise. Come with me to see yourself in my persona of this hub.
Jim picked up the wallet fallen on the ground - it was fat. Jim was down on his luck. The wallet had five hundred in cash in twenties a few fifties and some hundreds. He took it. There were are least 6 credit cards and an ATM with a paper tucked in with the pin number. It had a valid drivers license and two checks hidden in a zipper pouch. The address on the license was only two blocks away. It was sleeting rain/snow and Jim was cold. This weather made the shrapnel in his arm burn with pain as his body worked it out toward the skin in a festering that caused fever and a delirium of PTSD..
But he danged sure made the two blocks and rang on the door. God knows he needed a fix of morphine and he needed it now. Dr.Eric Black opened the door as Jim passed out falling with his arm out stretched and the wallet falling at Eric's, --the retired LT Col (USMC Doctor retired)-- foot.
The warm air of the home rushed at Jim's face and awakened him in horror, he squirmed up and yelled that he had stolen the money and stumbled down the three step stoop and into the now foggy night. He passed out 3 more times on the way to the methadone clinic loosing all track of time. He was kicked and beaten and robbed of the money. He arrived wet freezing and with a face so battered as to look like someone else.
A seven foot tall nurse grabbed him and removed his GI Jacket and checked his Id. The Doc on call shot him up in no time flat and saw the bulge of the shrapnel. He localized it and removed it post haste. Jim was fed intravenously and came around quite nicely eight hours later. JIm's life changed when he no longer felt the bulge in his arm. He saw God in the 7 foot tall nurse who had held his hand all night long. (Bill -corpsman medic retired)
Well neither man ever knew it but Eric was the Doc that had saved Jim in the battlefield 5 years before. And Eric was the Doc that saved him that night.
This is a lullaby I sing to my children. Funny but children get it better than adults.
Maybe this man is Jim and maybe he is Eric. Does it really matter?
I cry for society and I am part of society but damn I wish I were not.
Now with the shrapnel gone, Jim was a new man.
He got himself cleaned up and got a small studio apartment one block from the clinic. He got sober and by time of 90 days he could see clearly again. Instead of passing out under a bench or bush or cardboard box and coming to looking up to see where he was he knew each day and where it began. Instead of being locked up at night he had a key and a lock on his own door.
And so it was time to give back. Reluctantly they accepted him for volunteer service at the same old clinic. He gladly cleaned up after the sick and scrubbed the toilets clean as a whistle and talked many a junky down as they came down and around.
Because of the great transformation in Jim only Bill recognized him from that fateful night that JIm was saved. After a time the clinic supervising doctor wrote Jim a letter of recommendation and Jim got a job as a janitor at a nearby factory. So all night long Jim would work cleaning for a living and everyday he would volunteer for his life at the clinic.
Jim saved his money hard and soon had 500 extra dollars under his mattress.
Our friend Dr. Eric Black was not doing so well. A debilitating depression had come over him and the medications and therapy just were not helping. On October 4th in his home he loaded a revolver and sat in his favorite chair and with his favorite brandy in hand cocked back the hammer to the gun and began to say a final prayer.
His prayer was not to be finished as there was a knock on the door. Not wanting to involve anyone with his own death Eric got up to shew away the unwanted visitor. Who he saw there was a man he recognized as the volunteer janitor down at the clinic all dressed up and standing at attention with his hat in hand. He was becoming soaked as it was a cold rainy and sleeting night out.
Jim now recognized him as the doctor at the clinic, and blurted out "I am so sorry Dr. Black that I stole your money, but I have now come to pay it back". Now all the memories came floating back into Eric's mind, this was the man at his door and indeed the man with the shrapnel. How could it be?! How could there be 3 transformations of the same man all caused by acts of kindness and what is good in the world.
Needless to say Jim had just saved Dr. Eric Black's life.
At this supper it is told that the greatest of them all washed the feet even of the man who betrayed him.
Sorry but I will not give you a moral to this story.
What you take from this must be your own thoughts. Perhaps you will act on whatever it is that you take away from Jim and Bill and Eric.
But remember this, if not for the theft of the 500 dollars Jim would never have been beaten up and treated for injuries at the clinic and he would never have shown up to save Eric's life. So judge not our faults but look for the good that can come from any act.
What a great notion
Let us hope you can just skip this part.
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