The Waiting Room

I may be the only person I know who enjoys waiting rooms. It’s not the room itself or the coming appointment that draws me, it’s the “waiting” itself.

I know, I know in this microwave world we all live in we’re programmed to hate waiting, but I love it. There’s nothing worse than a doctor who’s actually running “on schedule”.

Waiting rooms have become my sanctuary, my quiet place. My place to take a few moments to read, to journal, to contemplate…to just sit and breathe.

I’m a mom (’nuff said, right?)…a mom of seven, all under the age of 13. But, because that didn’t push the question of my sanity quite far enough, we also have two dogs, a cat, a hamster that lives in my hamper more than in it’s cage, four fish and six chickens. The last time I had a quiet place to just sit and breathe was 2008 in the gynecologist’s office just before he told me I was pregnant with baby #1.

But waiting rooms have become something more for me now, more than just a quiet sanctuary for a weary mom. They’ve become a reminder…a reminder of what life’s really about. A reminder of what has often gotten lost in this “me first” society. A reminder of love…pure, selfless love…

It was just another typical waiting room visit, Kindle on my lap, I was enjoying those few cherished child-free moments of the newest Steve Higgs mystery. Suddenly my treasured tranquility was disturbed by an ear piercing, monotone whistle. Surely, someone had let a tea kettle off in the back of the office. But, this didn’t stop. It went on and on.

Glancing up from the corner of my eye, trying to seem unbothered and inconspicuous, I found the source of this peace-shattering racket. Off to my right, sitting otherwise still and calm in her sit, was a very sweet looking older woman. I guessed her to be about 80 plus years old.

As I continued to try to peek nonchalantly over the top of my Kindle it appeared as if she had no control over the whistle. She stared blankly into space as though she wasn’t even aware she was doing it. One of those “nervous tics” that seem to appear with age, like groaning every time you get in or out of a seat. I remember praying to myself, “Lord, please save me from developing anything like that as I get older.” I shudder to think how I sounded in the ears of God.

I had been so caught up in the whistling and my own fears of deterioration, that I had barely noticed the gentleman sitting closely beside her, gently holding her hand. While there seemed to be a room full of people “nonchalantly” glancing at her whistling, his eyes gazed only at her full of love and adoration, continuing to pat her hand reassuringly.

Then, unexpectedly, a new song joined the whistling. The old gentleman slowly began to whistle along with his wife, “Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost, but now am found. Was blind, but now I see.” Over and over he whistled the beautiful old hymn, until suddenly, she seemed to pick up the tune, as well. A smile spread across both their faces as they continued to whistle grace to one another, until they were called back into the office.

I didn’t dare look nonchalantly around at this point, my eyes too flooded with tears to see anyway. This time I whispered a new prayer, “Lord, when I get old, whatever my state, let me be loved, and let me love, like that.”

“For the greatest love of all is a love that sacrifices all…” John 15:13a TPT

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