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Brokenness

God, in his perfect wisdom, placed me into a program that forces me to visit hospital rooms every week. Thank him for that. Otherwise I would probably suffocate under the weight of the egos and hot air fluffery all around me. Passing through the doorways of Hendrick Medical Center twice each week takes me though the gateway into the land of the suffering and broken. A place where people have no ability to have egos and the burden of their failures takes the form of tubes running out of their bloody noses and straps that hold them to their beds. Bert, who last week so enthusiastically told the dreamy tales of his wondrous 47 year marriage while sitting in his chair, lay crumpled in his bed, tubes shoved in his arms and face, barely able to open his eyes and mumbling incoherent words. I tried to listen and understand while wiping away the mucus thrown onto his cheeks by bone-rattling coughs. He has nothing figured out. He is completely powerless, completely helpless, at the mercy of whatever the next person who walks in wants to do.

The picture is not much more rosy for Trinia, who sits in the corner staring with tired eyes towards her 88 year old husband who is slowly being robbed from her by dementia. All that can be done is squat beside her with a hand over hers as the tears roll down her face at the sight of seeing heroic husband of 50 years strapped to the chair, staring at the floor. He still knows who she is, though, and the bond of love is powerful as she fights for the life and the dignity of a man who has little left to muster for himself.

These are people who must accept the fact that their abilities, their knowledge, their accomplisments, their associations, and their personalities mean little to the realities that are overtaking them. Impressing others has little place in the world they now inhabit. Submission to the abilities of those that can help them is all they have.

Brokenness is a hard place to go. It is a place that shatters the mirror we spend our days posing in front of and vaporizes the walls of protection we spend so long building. But on the other side of that mirror, just beyond the foundations of that wall, is the spirit of God, waiting, with an outstretched arm.


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