We all develop a sense of place after a while. We’ve been spending time at the local hospital with a family member. We’re the kind of family that gathers for celebrations and pulls together when there’s a need.
Hospitals are part business, part patient care, part compassion. The rooms are designed to get patients in and out. The equipment, beds, and tables, all on rollers, are in and out. That families show up is secondary to all the other parts of the goings-on – as well it should be. When you get there, the institutionalization of it all is what you first have to contend with.
When I was a boy, I wasn’t allowed into a hospital room. I’m glad that’s changed. You see families now – surrounding the beds, spilling out into the hall. It makes it all more human.
We waited for our loved one as doctors consulted with other families. We heard a number of success stories as doctors filtered in and provided longed for information. As the stories were told, a sense of relief and healing that initially is camouflaged as a hospital began to reveal itself. In the end we came home, loved one in tow, grateful to God for the healing, the help and all the prayer.
What I became aware of is that we’d made the hospital room ours. We’d made it ours by being there together. In the end it wasn’t the room, it was us. It was our sense of place.
I’ve puzzled a long time at Jesus’ saying “The kingdom of God is at hand.” Was he talking about a literal place? Maybe something like the New Jerusalem? One thing for sure – we’ll be together sharing that sense of place.