Family Waiting. That is what the sign on the wall reads. But the signs are everywhere, really. Because it wouldn’t be family if it weren’t a little crazy. And the constant waiting and waiting and hoping and praying just strips the facades away and leaves everyone bare and exposed. You see it in the red eyes and tear-streaked faces, you hear it in the hushed voices and sniffles, and even in the angry phone conversation an old man is having with a family member. You sense it in the brief moments your eyes meet those of a stranger on the other side of the room. Waiting. Excruciating and hopeful and desperate waiting. The clock loses its meaning and the hours bleed together while everyone floats adrift in this same boat. The fear is palpable when the doctors or nurses enter into that space, and the relief immense when they walk past you and on to someone else, and immediately you pray for them because you know they are feeling that same sick fear in the pits of their stomachs and you can’t help but hurt with them.
A conversation in the restroom with a lady who is trying to put rollers in her hair while you try and blow-dry yours. She says she just lost her daddy three years ago. And now she is here with her mama. And even though she is a grown woman and she has grown kids of her own you can see that inside she is still just a little girl who is afraid. And sometimes the only response is just to cry and say, “It is a hard place to be, isn’t it.” Because sometimes the only good news is just this: We are not alone. You are not alone.
The waiting room can feel like holy ground. Sacred. A place where trivial things cease to matter and the only thing everyone is holding onto is Hope.
Or maybe Hope is holding onto all of us…