Yesterday morning, I dropped by the local IHOP for a bite of breakfast. While waiting to be seated, I noticed the windows were covered with tags, filled in with handwritten names. Dozens upon dozens of tags and names. I didn’t think much of it, and I didn’t even read what the tags were for. I was seated, ordered, and proceeded to read the newspaper.
When the waitress brought my meal, I couldn’t help but notice her right arm. It was scarred past her elbow, well inside the short-sleeved uniform she wore. Her arm bore the telltale signs of surgery following a severe burn- random scars, the waffling effect of skin grafts, the inconsistent pigmentation that ran from dark red to almost white. It was hard to not stare, and I knew it was impolite. Accustomed to having people stare, she smiled and told me her story. As a child, she was badly burned in a house fire. Her life was saved by the physicians at Shriner’s Hospital Burn Center. At that time, her family had no insurance, and the enormous expense for the dozen or so surgeries she endured could never be paid by her family. She told me she owed her arm- and her life- to the good people at the Shriner’s Hospital Burn Center.
Then she told me that the restaurant was raising awareness and money for the Shriners Hospital. For a few dollars, I could get my own name tag and have it displayed in the foyer, showing my support for the Shriners. Impressed by her service and inspired by her story, I now have my own name tag in the window.
We all have stories of pain, struggle, failure, and success. I hope we are not afraid or ashamed to own our stories, and use them as a catalyst for good. The Bible says that we should always be prepared, with gentleness and respect, to share the story of the hope we have with any who inquire (I Peter 3:15).
The evidence of the waitress’ story was in her arm. Where is the evidence of your story?
(for information about donating to Shriners Hospitals, click here.)