I witnessed something a couple years ago that changed me. I learned a lesson through a hospital curtain. My sister had surgery and my mom and I spent a few hours in a waiting room. About midway through our wait, a middle-aged man was brought in by the hospital staff. This man was acting oddly. He spoke out loud to himself about the phone chargers on the wall, his wife, his wait time, the doctors…all of it came out in unbridled loud mumbles and sometimes directed at the hospital waiting room liaison. I admit, he made me uncomfortable. I didn’t know how to digest his manner and even wondered to myself if he was mentally unstable. I was once force-kissed on the cheek in a Dunkin’ Donuts by a homeless man I’d bought food for. I hadn’t gauged him correctly, and he turned out to be somewhat dangerous. This shook me up a bit and has made me more cautious about getting involved with those who possibly could be unstable. To my shame, I didn’t interact with this man in the waiting room.
My mom and I were called back and we sat with my sister as she woke up in misery like most people do after surgery. My dad arrived shortly after. Due to the policy being only two allowed at the bedside at a time in PACU, I swapped out so they could go in. I spent an uncomfortable 45 minutes in the waiting room witnessing this man’s terrible anxiety. He kept asking the waiting room liaison to call into his wife’s surgery and see how she was doing. I could see by the tech’s body language and facial expression that she was actively trying her best to be patient and calm with him. The side glances and smirks from others in the waiting room confirmed I wasn’t the only person feeling uncomfortable. He paced and mumbled aloud to himself about how his wife was doing.
The tech came back with my parents and we swapped out. My dad is diabetic and it was past dinner time and he needed to eat. I knew my mom would be at the hospital even longer than me because it wasn’t looking like they would be releasing my sister to go home until the next day. They went to grab a bite and I went back in with my sister. We are very close. My sister could barely form sentences in her state of intense pain and the nurse wanted me to get her to sip some Sprite. I could tell by a mere lip twitch when she was ready to try a sip. In between nursing some liquid into her system, I overheard a commotion outside our curtain. It was a couple of surgeons, nurses, and the bed of a very, very sick woman. My sister’s nurse was receiving this patient. As the surgeon gave her the rundown on this woman, I quickly recognized this to be the wife of the man in the waiting room. The surgeon explained a very dire picture. She wasn’t breathing on her own and had to be kept on a vent, which they’d had extensive trouble placing. She had a shunt placed in her brain draining cerebrospinal fluid because of seizures. She also had a pleural effusion, couldn’t eat, and had a nasogastric tube. The most dire of the situation was that she was septic. The gastric surgeon believed they’d found a cancerous mass on her liver. She had some sort of sudden event that caused all of this, but she’d nosedived since. I could tell she wasn’t very old, maybe middle age. The surgeon explained that they’d “done everything possible, but it wasn’t looking good.” My heart dropped into my stomach. No wonder this man was out of his mind! I would be too, if the roles were reversed. My parents were able to sneak back in our curtained room amidst all this commotion, without the liaison noticing me as a third visitor still sitting in the corner. I mouthed to my parents that the woman in the area next to us was in terrible shape and that’s why it was so crazy. You could hear various beeps and alarms going off, and then be silenced by the nurses. They escorted the man in from the waiting room, and he quickly started talking to his wife. “Oh, honey, I’m here. It’s your Finder, and I have your hand. I am not leaving. I will never, ever, ever, ever, leave you. Never ever, never. I won’t go anywhere. I am here. You are so beautiful, sweetie. You are still so beautiful. I love you so, so, so, much. Your Finder is here.” Then he made almost excruciatingly unbearable sounds that were like a groan of deep pain and a whimper of helplessness mixed together. My mom and I silently listened as tears rolled uncontrollably down our cheeks. My dad hung his head with his jaw clenched. I found myself begging God for this couple. It tore my heart in half. The nurse interrupted him and asked why he called himself her ‘finder.’ He said, “Oh it’s because my wife loses everything and I’m the only one who can ever find it for her.” Wow. My heart cracked wide open.
The moments ticked by and I said goodbye to my sis and parents and walked to the parking garage from the hospital in a dust storm. It was fitting. I felt like the weather mirrored the thoughts swirling inside me and the clouds held the tears I was determined to hold back until I was safely in my car. I cried all the way home. I had such regret for not talking to this man and I hurt for the suffering they were experiencing.
I have been mulling something over. I realized there is a parallel between this woman’s ‘finder’ and mine. God is my Finder. How often have I needed Him to find me where I am because I am too weak? I’ve often needed the reassurance that He will never ever leave me and that He is holding my hand. I have grieved Him at times and I’ve needed the Spirit to make groanings for me.
Romans 8:26 Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.
God is my Finder. God is our Finder. No matter where we are when we cry out to Him…He can find us.