My son in law’s mother is in the hospital after having been through some major surgery. No need to go into details other than to say that she has been moved from ICU critical care to the next level, meaning that she has responded favorably and is no longer considered critical.
Lucy and I showed up to visit an hour and a half too early, not knowing the visiting times, that and the fact that she had just been moved from ICU and they were in the process of that move when we arrived delayed our ability to meet with her. Instead we visited with the folks who were in the ICU waiting room.
Maybe that was what we were supposed to be doing all along. These folks were waiting to visit their own friends and relatives; those who’d been hit by 18 wheelers, in terrible automobile accidents and things like that. I could see the desperation of thought in their faces as they talked on telephones, explaining to others what was going on, the odds of survival according to what the doctors had explained and the unsettled moments of having to sit around in a hospital waiting room.
I noticed one fellow, an older gentleman about my father’s age, reading his Bible. It had been highlighted with various colors. I could see that he was gaining comfort as he read and took in the message before him. I mentioned that so many folks have a brand new Bible in their homes; but for some reason they must think it more valuable if it never gets opened. I explained how it’s much the same as if they’d gotten a letter from their father in the mailbox and taken it in the house; never wanting to find out what was inside as they placed the important letter on the table to let everyone know that they had one.
We talked about Sunday School lessons and I explained that we had our lesson on the Book of Numbers, going over the information in chapter 24. I asked if he’d ever read the Book of Mormon and he said he hadn’t. I then asked if he’d like a copy and he nodded that he would like one. I’ll have to get the missionaries to deliver him a copy during the week, having left him my business card and hoping that he’ll give me a follow up call.
There was a young woman that reminded me of one of my daughter’s friends. I told her so and we got into a conversation about how it’s nice to have a “twin” somewhere else that makes folks think of them. The next time she walked by it was almost spooky how much she looked like the other young woman and she smiled at having recognized my double take.
Lucy and I did eventually get to go visit, having to put on disposable aprons and gloves. While we were at bedside I noticed a sign that warned about Latex intolerance and we were then told not to touch her unless we changed into a different kind of glove. I hadn’t planned on doing surgery or any kind of exam so I saw no need to change gloves; a short visit was all I intended from the get go.
We could have spent the evening at home watching television or any number of things; but I’m pretty sure that Lucy and I were supposed to spend that time visiting all those people, strangers and family alike, sharing ourselves as good listeners to tales of sorrow and, not to be denied, my own ability to share a good story, a joke or even the Gospel of Jesus Christ.