The weight of their hearts and their care for each other was the sum of their treasure
By Loren Lewis, MD
Franciscan Medical Group
One morning when I was working as an orderly some years ago, a man named Derek burst into the emergency department. He was frantic sobbing and out of breath. He was also disheveled and dirty, the kind of person it is easy to look right past. Pointing toward the door, he managed to tell us that his brother Tom was outside in a pickup truck and was sick.
We rushed out the door to find an old clunker of a pickup truck – the kind of vehicle it is easy to look right past. Tom was propped up on the seat of the pickup, leaning against the passenger door. His illness had overcome him; he had been dead for several hours already. Derek wept when we told him this.
I was overcome with sadness, but also a certain serenity as I learned the story of the two brothers. They had no other family, no friends and no possessions to speak of besides their clunky old truck and their spot in the dump where they parked at night. The weight of their hearts and their care for each other was the sum of their treasures.
The more I listened to Derek; the more deeply I was affected by the depth of love and care he had for his brother. Derek didn’t really want anything else in life except for his brother to be alive again. Each had taken care of the other in times of need. They were used to not being helped, so they didn’t think of asking for help when Tom became sick.
That morning with Derek was a sermon with many lessons about family and neighbors. I’ve thought about it many times through the years. It reminds me of two things. I don’t need to depend on “things” and earthly possessions to be happy; love for family, friends and neighbors is a much richer source of joy and peace. Also, I felt that someone should have noticed the brothers, reached out to them and guided them to assistance. I’ve thought of how many times I may have passed someone and unknowingly, or even consciously, looked right past them. It makes me strive to make sure that the someone who notices and helps is me.