Hospitals and airports. I've often thought they're the same. Hurry up and be ready - to wait.
I experienced it yesterday, briefly. In my world there are four kids going fast and constantly in opposite directions. There is too much to do and there are never enough hours to accomplish it all. I hardly have time to think a complete thought.
So I drove across the river to sit in someone else's world. She's a mom too. But she is waiting. Her eight year old son is balancing on the line between this life and the next. My world is breathless; she counts every precious breath. My world is cluttered with lists and chores and multitasking. Hers is stripped to the most basic essentials, air, heartbeats and the hard truths of life. My world hums with activity, discipline, laughter and growing pains. Hers hums with the antiseptic undercurrent of beeping machines and strangers too intimate with the physical needs of her son, halted in life. She has a world like mine, with a husband and children, a kitchen, and laundry, and dirt-streaked tears. But that world is waiting too while she cries in a sterile white room. She can think a complete thought right now. But its conclusions are painful and heavy.
Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though the outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but the things which are not seen. For the things that are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.
II Corinthians 4:16-18
She asks me about my little son, knowing from experience some of the medical jargon he's had to endure already. I don't think she should be worried about my kids while hers is the one in the hospital bed. But she encourages me before I have to walk away. We look into eternity for a minute together, sharing the same world of heartache for our children born different.
"In heaven, the real bodies that God gives them will probably run faster than everyone else's, since they will never have gotten to run on earth." I smile at the thought.
"Oh, and my son's going to be so tall and handsome I bet he'll take my breath away." She savors the joy.
My phone rings, my busy world is calling me back.
I went to bolster her spirit, but as I leave my own is challenged.
We look forward to heaven, to seeing things for real. The murkiness of this life is cloudy in my busy, breathless world. But she, in her stark waiting world, is able to peer through to eternity, to see a glimpse of the real and beautiful life waiting on the other side. And she shared the glimpse with me. I am so blessed she and I could share a moment of worlds colliding. But hers is so heavy, it smarts where it hits.
It hurts to think of her mommy heart aching tonight as she stares at the beeping monitor with the wavy lines, blurred by tears, waiting. My own monitor is on the counter, unceremoniously surrounded by scraps of supper waiting to be cleaned and to do lists and a plastic dinosaur.
Someday there won't be monitors.
There will be rest.
Come soon, Lord.