Howard The Vietnam Vet (22)

breakfast: rice krispies in almond milk … AGAIN.

—drink:  chai soy latte at Caribou – made oh so sweet by conversation with my dear friend Elizabeth.

lunch: leftover hodge podge. black bean soup. cantaloupe. chicken.

dinner: grilled tuna over a plate of lettuce with vinaigrette.  drink: cinnamon rooibos tea.

dessert: tapioca pudding made with almond milk (yum!)

Killing time with my friend Kaitlyn tonight, she and I stopped in at the Salvation Army store.  No major finds to report, although I did get a cute pair of brown heels. Coming out of the store we met a new friend named Howard.  We ended up spending the next 15 minutes or so helping this man pick out a much-needed new pair of pants at the SAL.  He had fallen in his wheel chair and pulled out his catheter and his pants were no longer suitable.

Howard is so wonderful and friendly.  He is a singer (went to Interlochen), and his background vocals are on over 3,000 recordings.  He also plays a mean harmonica – and made up a song for me and Kaitlyn all about us – and the gleam in our eyes that matched our gleaming hearts.  He is a Vietnam veteran and a Christian.  He was once married, but his wife died six months after giving birth to their only child – a girl.  He raised his daughter on his own, but due to failing health he now has to live in the vet hospital so his 17-year-old daughter was put in foster care.  Say a prayer for Howard today if you don’t mind.

While we were shopping and making conversation, Howard asked me if I was a nurse. This made me a little thrilled, a little sad and a little encouraged.  I asked him why he asked and he said that he has been a life-long patient and he has met a lot of nurses – and he can tell the ones that really like what they do – and I talk just like a nurse. 🙂  I replied that I was in school for nursing but I’m currently taking a little break from that pursuit.  He told me that when I get back to it, someday I’ll make a great nurse.

Howard thanked us for our help and said we made his night, but I’m thanking Jesus for the encouragement that I needed today.  When I get tired of explaining why I am taking a break from nursing school, or when I feel like that day will never come – I will remember Howard telling me “You will be a nurse someday. I just know these things.”


5 thoughts on “Howard The Vietnam Vet (22)

  1. also… thinking about the fact that I almost walked past him without stopping to listen to his story. thinking about how he knew that if he had just asked for a few dollars I probably wouldn’t give him any. thinking about the fact that he had to tell me an embarrassing story about wetting himself in order to get my attention. Lord help me to help others.

  2. Hebrews 13:2 – Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.

    This is a wonderful wake-up call to all Christians who should be meeting their “Howard the Vietnam Vet.”

    I’ll never forget the man I witnessed sitting in the bank last summer while I waited for customer service. As I waited, I looked around and found a man in a wheelchair sitting by the coffee display. He was filling his cup with a little coffee and a lot of sugar, time and time again. I then realized he was homeless. I was frozen to my seat. I could not figure out what I should do. My name was called and I left the area and the man. As I left the bank, I saw him waiting for a bus on the other side of Dequindre. (That means he crossed a VERY busy street, in his wheelchair, by himself.) Wow! I felt so convicted.

    Here I am … I can street witness in Detroit … I can write about God … but I couldn’t figure out what to say to this man. Lord, help me to be aware of those suffering and in need around me. Help Howard and the man in the wheelchair waiting for the bus. Help me be more like Amy. Amen.

    Thanks for sharing Amy! I love your heart.

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