Sunday, July 18, 2004

hospital people

it's a melancholy day and i can't stop thinking about sam. his little face is now the wallpaper on my computer. it could be buck, or pink. he's directly between their ages. and i can't imagine how i'd breathe, let alone thrive as it seems his parents rudy and kafi are doing.

i was so pleased to hear that trevor was able to go and visit them at the hospital. so many people i don't really know experiencing trials and pain, and yet it is so very real to me.

i was grateful to trevor for going because i knew that he knew exactly what it was like to be in their place. that his being there left the family with 'more' instead of 'less'.

it takes a very special person to be a hospital person. it is a rare gift. one that i cherish deeply. i spent too many nights in hospital waiting rooms during my adolescence and teen years. my mother, the real bobbie, was very sick. there were more close calls than i can count, and constant fear of relapse and hospitalization plagued our family.

during those times i saw the vivid difference between 'hospital people' and those who should stay far away. hospital people are those who after they've left make you glad that they came. they aren't needy during the visit, they give more than they take. they know that silence is okay, and that eye contact conveys far more than their lips ever could. there is a solidness to hospital people, a core that brings hope, not empty words and jesus-y shame or advice.

it is truly a rare gift.

because of our lengthy experience with hospitals our family has a ritual that kind of developed. we remember what it was like to be pinching pennies at the hospital, or returning home to an empty fridge. we investigate the likes and favorites of those families who have loved ones in hospital and shower them with groceries. simple, dumb, indulgent things. things that they would forget themselves because of the cloud they are existing in.

i remember my sister telling me of a woman in her church who came home to 2 grocery bags on her doorstep after leaving her husband at the hospital. she looked in the bag and found a 'clearly canadian' and sat on her doorstep and wept. she wrote my sister telling her that finding that drink waiting for her was a reminder that god would take care of them, even through the horror of sickness they were facing.

it's a simple thing, but it's a practical way of being there, and leaving more than we take.

i pray god surrounds rudy, kafi and sam with hospital people. people who can love on them and be jesus to them. thinking for them without asking. making life easier and less complicated. allowing the silence and the eye contact to convey more than their words could ever say.

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