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Chapter Two
Open Thine Hand Wide

"He that despiseth his neighbour sinneth: but he that hath mercy on the poor, happy is he."
~ Proverbs 14:21 ~

When Hannah opened her eyes, she found herself lying on a stretcher, with sirens screaming loudly in her ears.

"Do you feel better?" asked a voice. At the foot of her stretcher stood one of the emergency workers who had arrived in the ambulance. The stretcher suddenly bumped against the wall. It was then, Hannah realized she was in an ambulance.

"I'm all right. You can let me out right here," she said pointing to a window.

"I think it would better to have a doctor examine you first," he explained.

"But, I'm late for work," she protested. The man did not hear her, for he was busily engaged with a person in the stretcher beside hers. To Hannah's surprise, it was the stoplight panhandler. A clear hose had been placed over his mouth, pumping oxygen into his still unconscious body. The emergency worker turned his eyes to a little monitor with a jumping green line. Hannah lie quietly on the stretcher. Suddenly, the green line stopped jumping, and a flat line took it's place. The emergency worker grabbed two white discs and placed them on top of the panhandler's chest. His body jolted upward and then slammed back down onto the stretcher. He continued to do this until the green line began to jump again.

"He almost died, didn't he?" asked Hannah.

"His heart stopped beating. But, for now, it's working again," the man said, sitting down. Soon after, they arrived at the hospital. The doors opened, and the stoplight panhandler was lifted out. Hannah climbed down on her own two feet. A rush of activity surrounded her, as nurses rushed the unconscious panhandler into the hospital. Hannah was led inside, and checked over to make sure she was really all right. Then, the police had her answer some questions. She told them what had happened.

"If I were you," warned the police officer who had been asking her the questions, "I would stay out of dark alleys. Especially, if you are alone."

"But, it's Providential I did, this one time," smiled Hannah.

"It's just another transient," shrugged the officer, tucking the clipboard he had been writing on, under his arm. "If this one lives to be discharged, he'll be out on the streets again. Bums like him die everyday." The police officer checked his clipboard one more time, and walked away.

A sick feeling crept over Hannah. She navigated her way to the main exit, and quickly left the hospital. Hannah looked up at the sky. Usually, the air was filled with smog, but a gentle breeze sent out from God's heavenly chamber had carried the man-made poison away. Hannah gratefully thanked God for the safety He had given her that morning.

"Lord, safety does come from You," she prayed thankfully. In spite of the pure air and the warm sunshine, Hannah's heart was crying.

She arrived at work

The policeman's words echoed in her mind.

"Just another transient." A crowd of people exiting a nearby building, shook Hannah from her uneasy solitude.

continued on next page...
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