I have never felt so united, yet so lonely, as in a hospital waiting room. My husband has had two surgeries since we moved to the island of Hawaii and being so far away from family means that I am waiting alone for the doctor to come out and give me a good report.
The check in process was easy enough. The nurses are all used to the cold, sterile nature of the operating room and the people dressed in gowns, opened down the back, and little blue hair nets. I am not. Seeing my husband laying, hooked up to tubes and needles, makes me uncomfortable and nostalgic. He jokes about the procedure. I play with his hand and give him a kiss before he is wheeled down the hall.
I shuffle down the hall and open the door to the waiting room. All eyes are on me for a moment then, realizing I am not the doctor they are waiting for, all the eyes look back to whatever they were doing before the disturbance. I make a mental note that, strangely, there are no men in the room.
There is a strange form of camaraderie I feel with the other families. We all sit here, nervously pre-occupying ourselves. We pretend to be focused completely on our book or the AMC movie reruns. No one wants to get too chummy because you’re afraid and fidgety but everyone wants to be comforted so you seek out a smile and a kind word from the person sitting next to you. Whenever the door opens, all heads spring to the attendant walking in, calling out a name.
The little girl sitting next to me sang to herself and pranced around, coloring. She’s smiling and laughing despite her nervous looking mother. Her sweet voice alerts her mother every time someone walks by the door, letting her know her father still isn’t there. I can tell the other women waiting are as grateful for this happy distraction as I am. Well, all the women except the mother waiting for the report of her daughter. For her, the little voice seems only to be a reminder of one down the hall.
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. John 14:27, ESV
Peace evades the halls of the hospital. We struggle and worry as if one moment of our fretting will influence the outcome. Some pace, and some stare at the photographs on the wall, but everyone is just trying to pretend. Pretend that they are not worried and that their trust in the doctors is as confident as they said it was.
What if the secret to true peace, in hospital walls or outside of it, is pressing into our fears and recognizing them for what they are? Instead of hiding behind my books, what if I were honest? When our fears are spoken aloud at the foot of the cross, they fade in light of what has been done. If love was great enough to keep Him there, nailed to a tree, is it not great enough to handle my fear?
Perhaps in this hospital room, waiting for the good word from the doctor, I should lean into the good Word that I know and trust that when He said, “It is finished,” it was. If that has been handled, this, no matter the outcome, is too. Because even in the ick of this strange, pink hospital building I find myself in, He is good. He comforts my heart and reminds me that His banner over me in this waiting room, and my husband on the operating table, is love.