My normal Saturday morning routine is to wake up around 7am, start a pot of coffee, light our gas logs in the living room, and settle into the couch to write. It’s one of my favorite times of the week—a peaceful bookend to working. I’m writing this Saturday morning from a CICU waiting room.
I’m watching a scene that exists every week while I sit at home during this time. I’m surrounded by people who are tired, emotionally drained, devastated, worried, and hopeless. As I scan the room I see traces of suffering in every direction.
I see a woman who has her head buried into her hands. I don’t know if she’s asleep or trying to disappear from whatever tragedy she’s currently grieving. She has a hospital blanket draped over her and a bag of random items you would likely carry if you knew you would be spending the night at the hospital.
The man across from me was here last night when we finally left to go home. He’s in the same red sweatshirt. He looks exhausted. His phone rings, and in a muffled voice he explains something to the person on the other end. I can’t hear the words, but I get the impression it’s something along the lines of, “We are still waiting for an answer.”
In the far corner is an inflatable mattress. Surrounding it is what looks like a makeshift living room. This family has obviously been here for some time now. A “God is bigger” coffee table decoration sits on the waiting room footrest.
The television on the far wall plays a commercial about the latest, greatest car. The beautiful actors and scenic highways make an unspoken promise of youth and vitality. It’s empty, white noise to those who are sitting here grappling with the biggest questions in life.
There is an outdoor courtyard area behind me. It’s filled with benches and plants. I’m guessing it was purposefully placed where it is to offer relief from the waiting room’s fluorescent lights and burnt coffee smell.
Every day some variation of what I’m seeing right now is happening. While I’m sitting at home enjoying my coffee and writing, someone sits in this waiting room chair and wonders if life will be the same for them again.
This is perspective you wish upon no one but appreciate, nonetheless. It’s been a harrowing twenty-four hours, as we’ve dealt with the uncertainty of an open heart surgery gone wrong. We are one of the fortunate ones, though. We get to go home from this place with good news. Many will not.
So the next time I’m taking part in my normal routine, when I’m sitting in my living room on a Saturday morning, I will stop and close my eyes and remember someone is still sitting in this waiting room, wishing life would just go back to normal. In quiet prayer, I’ll express my gratitude and ask for peace for those who are still in the midst of it.