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I came to depend on Skippo
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I came to depend on Skippo
By Darlene Warren

BIG SANDY, Texas--There's a famous song called "No Man Is an Island." Through the years I have heard it performed many times by church choirs. The beautiful words remind us just how much we as mankind depend on each other and how interconnected we are.

Have you ever considered how many people you will have come into contact with over the course of a lifetime?

First there's family, then neighborhood friends and teachers and classmates, coworkers, the lady behind the cash register at the local grocery store, the old man at the Wal-Mart who offers you a shopping buggy, the woman at the beauty shop who cuts your hair--and these are just the people you see over and over.

How many times have you had a stranger cross your path, say a kind word to you or lend a helping hand and then exit your life forever?

Probably thousands, right?

How often have we looked back and considered the influence that that person's action had on us?

I daresay not often enough.

Some people

I've been in a rather reflective mood myself lately and have come to the conclusion that, unless we have a heart of stone, we will be influenced either positively or negatively by the way people treat us. Few of us are stoic enough to keep from being altered by others.

People change us. They inspire us, comfort us, challenge us, try us. They make us laugh, they make us cry, and sometimes they make us mad.

In a really dark time in my life a person came into my world in a way that I could never have imagined. I was staying in Houston at the time, living in a cheap hotel and wondering where God had gone; I couldn't find Him anywhere (at least that's the way I felt then).

The hotel where I was staying was popular with the sick and those who came to Houston's famed M.D. Anderson Cancer Center for chemotherapy treatments.

I know this because the hotel provided daily transportation to the medical district.

Every morning women with turban-covered heads would board the van with me, and I would watch as they got off in front of that famous hospital that no one ever wants to be in.

I couldn't help but wonder what their day had in store for them.

My day was spent at another hospital in that well-known district. But this story isn't about that.

It's about a man I had never met formally but was known by everyone who took advantage of that van shuttle to the medical district.

The times of our lives

Skippo was our van driver, a quiet black man who never said much of anything unless you spoke to him.

Since I am shy myself, few words passed between us. What's to talk about? We knew that he knew that anyone who rode that particular shuttle route wasn't exactly experiencing the best times of his life.

Skippo came into my life unexpectedly, and I haven't seen him since that time, but I will never forget him.

He dropped me off at my destination early in the morning, and he knew I would be there until the last shuttle ran at the end of the day.

Even when all the other riders had been picked up 30 minutes before, he always came back for me. When I was late for reasons beyond my control, and was not standing out on the curb in front of the hospital when he knew I should have been, causing him to make an extra trip just for me, he never complained.

But that still isn't what I remember best about him.

God revealed

After one particularly long day at the hospital, and everyone else had been dropped off at their door, Skippo pulled up to the room where I was staying. He noticed something that I hadn't seen.

A concerned look crossed his face and he jumped out of the van. The door to my hotel room wasn't completely open, but it wasn't completely closed either.

Without my saying a word, while I stood in the doorway, he entered the room, checked under the beds, pulled back the shower curtain in the bathroom and thoroughly checked for intruders.

Apparently it was nothing. The maids had simply neglected to pull the door to after they cleaned.

I think about him every now and then and thank God that in that strange town I had someone looking out for me. God revealed Himself to me that day.

Like a friend

I think sometimes we let the cares of the world distract us from focusing on the important things in our life. What could be more important on this physical earth than how we relate to our fellowman?

Christ Himself told us there is no greater love than laying down our life for a friend.

Aside from the literal meaning of this statement, what does that mean to you?

I came to depend on Skippo, knowing he would never leave me stranded or make me late for an appointment. That was one thing I didn't have to worry about.

Skippo, a stranger I knew only on the thinnest of surfaces, laid down his life, not by dying, but by going above and beyond what was required of him: something a friend would do.

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