It’s been a while since my last post because my left kidney thought this would be a good time to boot a few pesky kidney stones. They weren’t really bothering the kidney, but my left urethra is none too pleased about hosting squatters.

I’ve been asked if passing a kidney stone is like having a baby. Let’s see…I’m cranky. I can’t eat. And I’m tired all the time. So, maybe.

On the other hand, the outcome of a pregnancy is a cute, little baby. The outcome of passing a kidney stone is a hideous rock that, as far as I can tell, is as big as a refrigerator. So, no. There’s no comparison.

These stones also had the audacity to interfere with my NFL playoff watching experience. Even though the game was on in the ER waiting room, I was too busy moaning, writhing and throwing up to get any joy out of the Packers’ triumph over the Minnesota Vikings.

As miserable as I was, though, I still managed enough moments of lucidity to notice two people who were probably homeless sitting nearby. Their hair looked as if it hadn’t seen a bottle of shampoo in a couple of months. Their clothes were scruffy and soiled. And their ratty giant backpack was stuffed to the gills with what, I imagine, was all they possessed in the world.

They were a man and a woman, but I couldn’t say for sure if they were a couple. All I remember is that she was having a difficult time, and every now and then, he whispered into her ear while patting her arm or rubbing her face with the back of his hand. My wife was sitting next to me and doing those same things for me, so I was glad that this woman had this man to comfort her.

It also made me think of how Palm Springs Heat and the Fast Lane series is populated with so-called beautiful people. That is to say, people who look sharp, dress sharp and have lots of money. It’s fun writing about people like that, imagining how they might live and how they would respond to the problems in their lives.

But here are two actual people who would never live up to that definition of beautiful. Yet they are not squatters spoiling the landscape of our feel-good dreams. Like all of us, they’re diamonds in God’s eyes. And the couple I encountered in the ER were no less than two people acting beautifully.

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