Hospital waiting rooms. Pretty self-explanatory. You sit. You wait. News comes, either good, bad or indifferent, but you have to sit, and wait...in the waiting room.
I slept in a waiting room; yeah, I did that, over night and into the next morning, and the next, not even realizing time did not wait.
I heaved big sighs and prayers, sobbed uncontrollably, stared at walls and people.
The waiting room is now the trauma ward...
I felt the life blood drain from my head through my stomach in a hallway, outside a waiting room, in a hospital.
Ten years later, she walked me back to see my husband, prone on the bed with wheels that soon moved to a different room, a surgical room. ...a room of blood, cutting and repairing. We chit-chatted; I'm trying my best to calm his nerves. The nurse, we found out, with her cute Eastern European accent, knew a friend of ours from the same ol' country.
What a small world.
The world is small and full of waiting and wondering rooms.
Prepped and ready, the nursing staff moved my husband as I walked alongside. He headed for his surgery. Conscious and fully aware of his destination, that difference seemed to make a difference...this time. We said our good-byes.
The other time... I kissed his cheek, wiped his forehead, my fingers combed through his hair. I watched as my son's bed with his comatose body pushed through the middle of those double doors, which opened way too easy, for all to disappear behind them. Then I waited.
The nurse walked me back to the waiting room. She asked, "Are you okay?"
I hadn't said a word...how could she know?
"Yeah, I'm fine...just some memories of another time when my son died in surgery."
I didn't mean to say that much.
Curious, she prodded for more and I obliged. I really didn't want to.
But, I did.
I resumed my position in the chair in the waiting room. My sister and brother-in-law were there too.
Now we wait.
We managed small talk to pass the time and keep the thoughts at bay. But really, I am thinking of you, son, and waiting and grace and growth, of trusting and You and us--all of us in this small world, this waiting room in Your bigger world.
My brother-in-law noticed it first. Outside the glass doors across the hall and outside a glass wall, it hits the window over and over to get through. He nudged my sister and she relayed what she sees as my back is opposite the wall.
A butterfly is trying hard to get inside...make himself known...be seen by those waiting. I turned 90 degrees and looked out. I see it, a large yellow and black Tiger Swallowtail, two stories up, in the trees, flying into and against the glass window. I grabbed my phone without saying a word, walked out the glass door and entered the hallway. I tried to find my camera button and focus.
It met me there for those few seconds as I fumbled with my phone. Then it flew up in the trees again, swooped down on the other end of the window wall. I hoped it would come back, but it completed its mission, delivered to me the remembrance of His grace, His promises.
Holy moments happen in waiting rooms.
My only picture, a memory shot, and then there are two witnesses.
Those who wait in waiting rooms become witnesses of life and grace and love. Do they realize it?
I am reminded of a story of two disciples walking to a town called Emmaus, about 7 miles out of Jerusalem. Their conversation maybe contained small talk, but they also spoke of their Messiah, His recent crucifixion and their fear, their broken hearts, their memories. A third man appeared on the road and conversed with them as they walked, speaking of the promises of the Scriptures. They continued the conversation, a bit amazed at the words of this man. Arriving in town, the three began to eat together, the stranger breaking bread and blessing his friends...
Luke 24:30-31 "And it came about that when He had reclined at the table with them, He took the bread and blessed it, and breaking it, He began giving it to them. And their eyes were opened and they recognized Him; and He vanished from their sight."
The day before my husband's surgery, I broke bread, took of the cup, in an intimate gathering of four special friends. Our desire, to understand our own brokenness more and be the Good because of it.
He became broken for us to make us whole and good.
A butterfly comes to offer me communion. A remembrance of the good that came out of my broken self in the grief, the waiting, the seeing and the transforming.
As I re-enter the waiting room, in that moment, I am filled with His love for me. In His amazing grace, my eyes and heart once again widen, open, and I trust Him even more in that moment, for He is good. I sat at an angle, seeking the angel messenger, wanting to see and taste the Communion again. I know I can take that with me anywhere at any time. In my humble need for Him, He lovingly makes Himself known.
In a few more minutes, that pass so quickly for I am elated, the nurse tells me it is done, my husband is in recovery and the doctor will make his way to talk to me in a near by private room.
I can never keep the miracle of grace private...
A recovery room, a place where we receive our breath again and the reminder that we survived with mercy and a new perspective. We gladly take the instructions to build our strength and then, we reunite with those we love. And though I do not physically eat of the bread and wine, I feel the Communion in that room, a room now filled with a prayer of Thanksgiving.
A butterfly waits for his directions and I am sure makes his appearance outside someone's hospital room, maybe a new mother, holding her precious newborn in her arms, or a nurse needing revival after a 12-hour shift, or...
somewhere broken, where the Good can be reborn.
I went back today and took pictures of the place where we held Communion in thoughts for those few seconds, for those few Holy moments in a waiting room. The door holds printed words that read: THRIVE.
That is the chair I sat in, the Communion window-table to the left.
God is good.