This Wednesday, at the corner of Essex and Cambridge, I stood waiting for the bus that will take me on my daily commute to earn a living. In my hand was the book Bonhoeffer, a book that I have been reading and just have not been able to finish because of life’s other engagements. Noting that it will take the bus another five minutes to get to me, I opened the book to the page where I had stopped previously with the intent to continue with my reading. I soon realised that the lighting at the bus stop was insufficient, the last thing that I was looking for was to hurt my eyes. I closed the book and was soon lost in my thoughts.
What it was, that I was thinking, I cannot remember but I saw walking directly towards me, the frame of a man. He was bent, his strides were not without efforts and his sagging tummy seems to tell of a man that has let life gone past him. Added to all these were the loud grunts, he gives one of these with each movement of his leg. All these done while walking with a posture that seems will topple over at any second.
It did not take time for me, or rather my mind, to jump into conclusions. Simply, this was a man that had lived a rough life and deserve whatever sickness or ailment that was bothering him. By this time, the man has gotten to where I was standing and took a seat under the bus shed. He called out , Hi Mate and I responded how are you today.
Not good, not good at all, I am the pill man, he said. I asked him why he is the pill man to which he explained that he takes more than a dozen pills. None of these pills work at curing his ailments but to reduce his pains and sufferings. He mentioned how sad he was and that he is looking forward to the day he will be happy, when his ailments are cured. By this time, the milk of human kindness, which I did not believe I had enough of, have started flowing and I took a seat by him. I tried to make him see each day as a beautiful gift that he should cherish and be happy with. I explained that the journey is of more importance than the destination. He talked of his habits earlier in life and how these destroy his lungs and now to live each day is a struggle. I encouraged him not to give up and we talked on a few more issues and then I saw my bus approaching. Hey, the bus is here, I said let’s go. He said he was not waiting for the bus but was sitting down to catch his breath and will soon be on his way. I said my goodbyes and took my seat in the bus.
I was soon lost, again in my thoughts, and was oblivious to everything else during the entire journey to the office. This time, I thought of how I was so selfish in my personal pursuits that I had not taken stock of the very many things that the good God has made available to me. I thought of my health, my work, my kids and my family and I ended up saying “Thank You Lord”. I also thought of the Pill man and I said a little prayer for him – that God should lay his healing hands on him and bring joy his way.
On Wednesday, I had a very different day at work and at home, all because I met the Pill Man.