A Visitor in the Waiting Room
Written by
August 2011
Written by
August 2011
I used to think Hell must be a hospital waiting room. I’ve spent my share of time in them and I do believe it’s easier to be the patient. From experience I know there’s ways to make the best of them and one of them is acknowledging that there is real time and waiting time. Waiting time is different.

Mary Anne Radmacher says: ”Our lives are simply a succession of nows.” Waiting is like that.

Good waiters know it’s best not to get ahead of yourself or let your mind wander too far into what-iffing land. Just stay in the now of it. Hour after hour in the now of it.

And I was doing that yesterday, or trying to. Letting my mind and heart commune with the Great Healer and enjoying the supernatural calm that comes over me at times like that when I smelled it.

That telltale, unmistakable aroma.

“Oh, surely, not here”, I thought.

As the scent grew stronger, I grew more incredulous. Oh, surely, NOT HERE.

One thing about that sulphurous, rotten eggy smell, it’s recognizable. You only have to have sniffed that sniff once in your life and you know its origin. We might all have been holding our breath for one reason or another in that waiting room, but in that moment, in unison, we all did.

After some time, one of the angels disguised as nursing staff came out to tell us the culprit had been apprehended. An apparently agitated and claustrophobic polecat had gotten trapped in the air-conditioning duct and had used his genetic proclivities to assist rescuers in finding him. The smell would dissipate shortly.

And, at that report, my fellow waiters and I broke out into giggles. What a blessed distraction. Maybe no one else recognized it, but I knew that God sent that critter to the waiting room. For at least one brief, bizarre, collective moment of now, everyone’s minds were focused away from their worries.

My particular wait ended with a good report, another crazy memory to tuck away, and a reminder that the Great Healer can help calm waiters, too – by whatever means necessary.

Breath easy and Soldier On!


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