‘I wish I could be able to buy a new pair of shoes right now’, I murmured. I was sullen when my Skechers shoe broke while walking on the way to TALA Leprosarium for our group research. Until I saw a leper, he told me he wished he could buy food and simple clothes for his family and son with Down’s syndrome.
In my mind I worried that people might make fun of me and my broken shoes, until this leper told me he would hide his deformed hands and bridgeless nose whenever he went out.
My eyes welled up with tears as this grateful man told me in Tagalog, “I’m thankful despite my condition. If this is what GOD has allowed me to have. I should make the most of what’s given me, still GOD strengthens me.”
Shame on me for worrying on the littlest thing as a Skechers shoe! This man who has leprosy often faces the stigma associated with the disease. He could hardly walk without his crutches. His deformed, “frightening” face caused people to shun him, yet he is grateful!
O what faith! What hope!
As I put my hand on his shoulder for a photograph, I beheld a smile beyond words from this leper. He was cheerful, uncomplaining. After a short, sincere prayer with him, I knew I was forever changed.
An encounter with a leper has taught me a lesson so invaluable. My broken Skechers shoe will always remind me to look around and be thankful for the things I have and able to do.
“Dear Lord, thank you for speaking to me through a leper who is also very precious in Your sight.”