Jan 6, 2013

What Lies Within Us...

I muse over it. What can be gained that is positive in a hospital waiting room? 
I have sat here many times in recent years. Cancer struck in my family. My loved one endures treatments, tests, procedures, scans, and surgeries to keep disease at bay.  Part of my roll in this journey is to wait. 
Initially I did not understand the demands of the roll for one who waits. Getting my loved one delivered on time with all required necessities absorbed my preparation tasks. Once the wait time began, initially I would sit in a haze of numbness induced by crisis. Gradually people-watching distracted me... then magazines that were left behind by others. Eventually I had read everything published that month and needed to scrounge more selectively for recent issues. Maintaining focus on a book often didn’t work; too much effort required for my emotionally drained mind. 
In time I raised my head above the fog of crisis and determined that this season of waiting must be made worthy. Surely there were angels of caring to appreciate. There were God moments to be recognized. There was character to be deepened. There was wisdom to be gained. 
My expertise in this endeavor improved.
I found that I’m fortunate. The hospitals and doctors’ offices in my community are new, beautiful, state of the art. Carpet muffles noise. Upholstery in coordinated subtle hues soothes the nerves of worry as well as the ones imposed by the sedentary wait. Large and varied art works distract ones gaze down long walls, along corridors to unknown places. I watch as surgeons arrive to give a simplified version of surgery-results-with-a-positive-spin to each waiting family. Coffee or hot tea is available to warm-over refrigerated skin and mellow-over anxious minds. 
And there are tools for this journey of waiting. There is a mind set of intention and discernment to be developed. There is an action plan to be designed with alternative measures to be fleshed out. There is a stretched out, slow motion, sense of time that must be embraced. There is a partnership of consistent presence with God that must be established. And there is a collection, kept packed in a bag that accompanies me on every wait filled journey. 
The bag holds tangible tools that allow me to be present with my heart. Tools that soothe over taxed emotions. Tools that are gentle with the haze that clouds clear thought. Tools such as a grown-ups version of a coloring book with prompts, so I don’t have to prompt myself. A journal for decorated word pictures, unpunctuated writing sprees, art copied from hospital walls, impressions that crowd and ramble across my thoughts . A laptop to electronically doodle in similar forms. Tea bags, ear plugs, a favored shawl ~ whatever, to create a haven in the midst of strangers and busyness. 

And a camera {or phone option} to catch snaps; not of the private moments of others, but of beauty, affirmation, or hope. Because, I have found that if I keep my eyes lifted up, my gaze attentive for a bit of spiritual light, I will be blessed. Blessed by such as this; passing by the open door of a hospital office, I read scripted wisdom on the wall.

"What lies behind us
and what lies before us
are tiny matters...
compared to what lies within us."
Ralph Waldo Emerson

This, a bit of spiritual light. In the midst of medical mayhem. I read the words as a reminder of God within us, within me, as confirming knowledge that the Lord is where I will find strength, compassion, and hope. To pursue that internal presence. To clothe myself with His compassion. To be watchful for the beauty in His creation. To center myself on His eternal promises. These are the gifts that can be available in the waiting.

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A Holy Experience


  1. Oh, Lisa. I'm sorry you are in this place.I pray your loved one is doing well. And that God will open your eyes to the little gifts of beauty He has placed along this journey. It sounds like you have a sweet start.

  2. Yes, blessed by His presence. Thank you Laura.

  3. Such beautiful thoughts and words! Thank you for sharing! Praying for you and your loved one.