“Why am I still here?” I’m getting pretty salty in the waiting room at the hospital. Leo’s counts aren’t good enough to clear him for the next two treatments he needs. So we have to wait on the IV team to come and change the dressing on his pic line. That was at 11. It’s 2 now. And we’re still waiting. We raid the play room. We leave when they go to lunch. I want to throw a chair at the lady who puts an iPad into his hands.
Like, thanks, dude, are you gonna stick around for when he imitates Gollum when I try to take it away?
We grab “food” in the cafeteria. To my surprise, Leo actually wolfs down some chicken nuggets. I’m happy because he doesn’t eat a lot of meat these days. I didn’t have breakfast. The chicken was supposed to be for me. It’s ok. Little dude ate chicken.
I nod off for a second in the fire truck room. The exam table is shaped like a fire truck. Leo gets whiny about the birds obviously not being angry enough to take out the evil pigs. I look up at the clock and know that by the time the IV team gets here I’m going to have just enough time to drop Leo off at home and turn around and go right back out again.
I have to buy some spinach for me. I have to buy some bacon for the boys. Need to cook it. Need to carve out some time for the men with whom I teach. The nurse pops in. I try to not be salty. I don’t try really hard.
Next thing i know, she’s volunteering to change the dressing herself.
First thought I have is “do you know what you’re doing?” Then I hear her conversing with the doc in the hall.
“Yeah it’s ok. I have time. And he has to get to work.”
She comes back in and I realize I don’t even know her name. I’m usually good about getting acquainted with the hospital staff. I open up my phone and I look through pictures with Leo who has started crying because “I don’t want the auntie to pull off the tape.” I show him a picture of mommy, and Peter, and Johanna, and baby Judah. Then i stop at this picture.
And it’s perspective.
I took this right after we got the news that his cancer is in remission. I took this picture of my beautiful bride and three of my children playing and searching for sea glass. The water was so blue and the beach fairly empty. It was celebration. It was victory. My newborn son sat in a seat next to me as I trusted that a picture was taking.
I feel ashamed. It has only been four days. How do I go from that kind of elation to bitterness in four days. I run into hospital staff who thank us for our attitudes and hopefulness all the time. Nothing to appreciate now. No real witness here. Just a grumpy, underfed, underslept, bratty adult.
I ask her name and then thank her for the extra mile. She changes the dressing twice as fast as the ladies that normally do it. She does great. Leo is giggling within ten seconds of her finishing.
I drop him off. He’s so wiped out that he slept the whole drive home. I put him in my bed and say goodbye to Desiree and Peter.
I go to Costco. I decide that I’m not going to be in a hurry.
Costco tests that commitment. There’s an older lady in front of me loading her groceries onto the conveyor in a disorganized fashion. She stops mid frozen hot pocket and stares into space. She looks at me and my three items.
I’m sinning against Costco by having my entire purchase in my hands.
She asks if I want to go ahead of her.
“No thanks, auntie, I’ve decided I’m not in a hurry today.” She smiles and then resumes her inspection of the strap of her purse. Suddenly I see arms waving at me.
They’re opening a new line.
I really wasn’t in a hurry, dude.
In the parking lot there’s an old guy helping his wife into their car. This particular moment is happening next to my door. It is preventing me from getting into my van. I load my purchase slowly into the trunk and wait. He sees me and shuffles faster along.
I offer to help him lift his wife’s wheelchair into the car.
He stops and looks at me as if a helpful haole was the last thing he expected to encounter today. He reaches out and shakes my hand. It is smooth and old. And kind. He thanks me and tells me that he has a system.
He smiles and I think of my grandpa, walking along in glory with grandma who walks in glory herself, having left her wheelchair behind on earth.
I’m almost to base and realize I’ve left my base pass at home. I call Chase and he comes to sponsor me into base. No question or hesitation.
We cook bacon and talk about the Bible study.
We quality check the bacon and I hear about his calling and how it’s making his dreams come true. It’s answering my prayers.
We go to the Bible study and I cannot avoid how much I love these boys.
One of them gives an answer that is so perfect in poetry and accuracy that I think I grew a millimeter of hairline back.
At the end of the day I am asked how my day was.
It was great.
I got the chance to act out the gratitude I feel. I got the chance to get out of the way. To have a perfect view through the lens at my day, I had to clean the lens. Whodathunk that the biggest bit of shmutz I had to clear was me?
Who would have thought it could be so easy?
My day is not about me.
Not my life.
Not my best efforts.
Y’all I’m blessed.