Today I begin my fifth day sitting in the MSICU waiting room at Harris hospital. This is not the first time I have sat here. I first sat in these chairs in college waiting on a friend’s surgery and then a few years later for a close family friend. My family’s turn came 6 years ago. My dad developed a strange infection and he spent 3 weeks in the icu most of it on a ventilator. After over a month at a rehab hospital he made a full recovery. Four years ago my mom began a battle with ovarian cancer. She had surgeries and chemo. She has fought hard. Now here we sit again in these chairs. Life suspended. Life’s fragility on full display. These truly are the most uncomfortable chairs in the world.
Yet in the midst of the discomfort and waiting. These chair become sacred ground. A thin space where the distance between heaven and earth dissolve. Prayers are no longer given in words. Words are too difficult to utter and quickly grow stale. Instead prayer comes through tears and nervous glances between family members. God’s presence is felt in the lighthearted moments when a friend stirs laughter or a blanket of calmness unfolds in the most anxious of moments. I have found that it is in these long moments sitting in the most uncomfortable chairs when God is so close he is easy to miss. Closer than even one’s own thoughts and therefore silence becomes a sought after companion.
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