The Strength of Humility

“Sliding down a rainbow

Bouncing on a cloud

Two little angels

Laughing out loud.”

The little girl laughed. Bo was a fun guy. They called him Bo-Jangles around the hospital. A few hours there and you knew why.

I stopped at the door and listened.

“Did you ever kiss a grasshopper

And let him tickle your lips

Or throw a rock across the water

And count the times it skips?”

She giggled. “Bo, have you ever seen an angel? What do they look like?”

“Goldilocks hair

And eyes shiny blue

Ten tiny toes

Just like you.”

She was asleep. I made sure Bo didn’t see me. The sounds of the stainless food trays and hospital noises settled into a hushed summer evening. From my bed I could see the little girl’s mother maintaining her vigil that had left her drained. Bo sat at her side.

His duties as janitor took him through the day but this was his time and this was how he spent it. I watched him carrying soda and coffee and chatting with people in the waiting room.

The angels came quietly that evening. The little girl’s mom, her head on Bo’s shoulder, sobbed softly. I heard the doctor tell the night nurse, “At a time like this, one Bo is worth all the doctors in the world.”

I passed Bo in the hallway next morning on my way to check out. He was busy mopping.

“Okay, young fellow, get out there and straighten up this ol’ world.”

“See you around, Bo.”

“Sliding down a rainbow.”

“What was that, sir?” the nurse asked as I was checking out.

“Oh, nothing. Just a little poem I’ll never forget.”

That story was written 20 years ago. I was passing through that same little town and for some unknown reason, a voice from the past got into my head full of riddles and rhymes. How was that possible? I watched him two evenings and may have spoken to him for a total of one hour, yet he had affected my life so much.

At the front desk, I asked if Bo was still around. The nurse laughed and then wiped a tear. “Bo passed about five years ago. However, if you go to the third floor and sit a spell, you may hear whispers of laughing angels and kissing grasshoppers.”