Friday, November 4, 2011

God in a Waiting Room

I spent yesterday in a waiting room. 

My 3-month-old niece underwent open-heart surgery and I drove up for the day to wait alongside her parents. 

It's hard to explain the emotion that hangs heavy throughout the rooms and hallways of a children's hospital. It is a place of hope and heartache, twin, invisible threads inextricably woven together into one cord. 

I found myself fighting back the tears at inopportune moments and not tearing up at all when it seemed like I should have been. 

Crisis is unpredictable like that. 

I've seen mothers stand strong and stoic as their child's life hung in the balance. And I've seen these same mothers weep over that which is less consequential on an everyday Monday. 

In one sense, I think that is God's grace. The tears have to escape eventually. But sometimes they come later, taking a back seat to the strength that enables endurance for the here and now.

Our tiny, private waiting room, crammed with four loving grandparents, two unbelievably calm parents, and one protective big sister / auntie {that's me}, was abuzz with laughter and chatter as the hours ticked by yesterday. 

Grace infused us all with the oddest sort of normalcy during those waiting hours. 

Yet I found myself crying as I waited for the microwave to heat up my cold coffee and overheard a mother and father, hands held tight, praying fervently about tumors. I entered an elevator, heart nearly split in two, as my brother told of a doctor he'd seen crying and my mother spoke of a woman weeping in the arms of a nurse. 

In those moments, I felt God's presence in a palpably real way, so close I felt I could touch Him.

If God is anywhere, He is surely in that place, close to the broken-hearted and near to the crushed in spirit.

As I left the hospital and began my bleary-eyed trip back home, gratitude overwhelmed me. 

Gratitude for those who spend so many years in school and residency in order that they may one day heal baby hearts and comfort the grown-up ones too. 

Gratitude that we live in a place and time where this sort of live-giving surgery and care is possible. 

Gratitude for my younger brother and his precious wife and their sweet Naomi who will now live and grow and teach the rest of us what living is all about. 

Naomi was born with that special 47th chromosome. We know it as Down Syndrome. 

A friend of my father's sent him an e-mail yesterday, a friend who happens to have an 8-year-old daughter with Down Syndrome. His message simply read, This child did not come into the world to learn. She came into the world to teach. 

She is and she will. 

In the meantime we wait and offer thanks to the God who knit her together and who holds all things together. 

The God who reveals His handiwork through the loveliest almond eyes and perfect smile of a tiny baby. 

The God who shows His skill through the precise and guided hands of trained surgeons. 

The God who comforts us with His unmistakable presence in hospital waiting rooms.

He is good. 


  1. We were praying for Naomi too. So happy to hear that she's doing well. To God be the glory!

  2. He IS good--much too good for us to take in. So we need lots of teachers like Naomi. :)

  3. You have me crying AGAIN with this beautiful writing! I should never check your blog after I put on my mascara for the day.
    Thank you for sharing.

  4. I am finally reading this post. Your presence would have been terribly missed had you not been there. Thank you so much for taking time out to walk this road with us. Love you so much!


Share your thoughts?


Blog Widget by LinkWithin