My mom was diagnosed with breast cancer this year, and though she is doing well recovering from that diagnosis (they caught it early enough that she didn’t need chemo or radiation after surgery), I found myself walking the hospital that day, wondering around alone as I waited for her surgery to be over. It was the same hospital that my grandfather died in 15 years before. I was 14, but I remember it like it was last week. The way it smelled, the darkness of his room the last time I saw him. As I walked around that day waiting for my mom’s surgery to be over, I knew my mom would be ok. How? Why? The whole peace in the middle of the storm thing, yeah, God is not kidding! That’s all the how and why I can tell you. It had nothing to do with me.But as I walked those sadly familiar halls of Johnson Memorial Hospital I also knew there were others there who’s world just fell apart worse than mine had.
For some, there were no God assurances. They were just in the middle of a pain ravished hurricane, losing the battle against fear, against despair. Because well…
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It’s the hospital. The place of death. The place where lives hang in between. Its cold here. Its gruesome. Its hard reality as it fullest.
It’s where your priorities properly align- probably for the first time; this is where vulnerability hits.
This is the place you discover money means nothing in light of a black diagnosis and all the power one’s hoarded might not be enough. It’s meaningless. It’s worthless.
All you really want, is those people you’ve pushed away, you want their warmth, their arms. The hospital makes you crave all that inner self you try to hide from day by day.
But the hospital is not just a despair mongering place. It is also a place of hope. It is a place where life can be granted a second chance.
Its where science-fiction meets reality with all sorts of frankensteinian ideas that come into fruition by the sheer will of genius imaginations and iron clad courage.
It’s where steady hands do their best work and doctors become rock stars as dauntless as firemen running into the blaze, soldiers into gun fire.
This conglomeration of pathways is a separate journey for each one who walks inside those pristine white doors. So be extra kind.
You may not be the one traveling in despair through the white wash hallways, but others might. Just a smile from a stranger can make their invisibility fall away and remind them that they are not so alone.
The hospital is where we remember our humanity and that in it, we are terminal. It’s just a question of when. Remember, also, that a kind word will gratify the soul, but a hug can definitely fight off the walls of despair.