I wrote this poem back in 2007 in honor of a friend who had come from Austria. He’d lived in the US for 5 or 6 years with his aunt and uncle and ultimately decided he would go back to his parents in Europe. That was heart breaking. Not just for me, but for all of us in our youth group. He was a kind hearted guy who was like a brother to me growing up in my teen years. This was the very first time someone close to me had left the picture and permanently. I mourned his loss a long time. Not because he died, but because our friendship changed and over time and seas, it died. I know he got married and is a dad now. He’s happy and that makes me happy. Still, I think of all the fun filled times we had together with our youth group fondly. Doing doughnuts in the church parking lot, stints to Miami. Laughing and singing together. Those were the songs of our youthful hearts.
But reading over this poem recently, I’ve realized that this wasn’t just for him. It’s as valid a statement in my life now as ever. And yes, I can say indeed God has been faithful in bringing me the friendships I always need to sustain me in the darkness as well as the light. So here’s to you! A sweet friend, who’s presence alters me forever…
God adopting us as His own seems to be a reoccurring theme in my life this season. But truly, it’s a truth- an unbelievable one at that. I am blessed beyond measure to be called His- to be named his daughter. I am so undeserving of that title and yet, Jesus crowns me with it every day. He calls me by name into who I am created to be.
I wrote this poem a while back and now seems to be the time to post it. Here’s to the One who can when we can’t, to the One who takes in the disheveled orphan and calls them son and daughter.
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…
~ ~ ~
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.