The Waiting Room
Based on True Events
by Luke Joshua Davis

 

Saint Mary's Hospital had a very hospitable waiting room in its ICU. On the worst day of their lives loved ones could watch the news on the 27" flat screen TV, lounge in the soft overstuffed chairs, or even watch little finches eat from a feeder perched just outside the large pane glass window. Of course, these nice enmities did little to keep the anxious minds from the reason they were here.

Bernice O'Neal, however, had neither the hospitals furnishings nor the state of the patient she was visiting on her mind. The only thing she was concentrating on was the word "Angel". She had been working on the same word search for the past three hours. Now, the only word left to find was "Angel". She rested her hand on her forehead and softly smiled at the elderly woman sitting across from her.

"I think they forgot to put this one in."

Mrs. Nancy smiled back, "Its there, your just not seeing it. Let's take a break. Just wait, as soon as you start looking again it will jump right out at you."

Bernice rolled her eyes and looked out the window. How long can this last? She had spent the last four days in this waiting room, going home only to sleep and returning as soon as day broke. I miss my children. Why am I doing this?

One look at Mrs. Nancy told her. This dear old lady needed someone. Aside from her husband, all she had was her pastor and the pastor's wife. Ministering to Mrs. Nancy was Bernice's calling. Fortunately, it was not a heavy burden to bear. She had formed a bond with the elderly woman. A friendship born of adversity.

"We should be hearing from the doctors soon. Surgery was supposed to be over an hour ago."

"Has it been only an hour?" Mrs. Nancy enquired. "It seems like much longer than that."

The old woman looked at the clock suspiciously, as if she did not truly believe it.

"It will be all right." Bernice assured her fragile friend, "God will take care of everything."

"Oh, I know." Mrs. Nancy said with a distant look. "God promises to take care of his children." She glanced at Bernice. "He can't lie you know."

The pastor's wife nodded, Mrs. Nancy's faith never ceased to amaze her.

"You know, Roberts favorite verse is 'Though He slay me I will trust him.' It has always bothered me that he is so comfortable with the idea of dying. Although now I find is strangely comforting." After a long pause, Mrs. Nancy nervously laughed. "Look at me! Talking of death! That not unlucky is it?"

Bernice chuckled with her friend, "Nancy! I didn't know you believed in luck!"

Their awkward laughter was quickly silenced by the presence of a tall, white jacketed man.

He ignored the other people in the waiting room and when directly to the two ladies. "Nancy White?" he asked.

"This is Nancy." Bernice gestured to the visibly shaken woman. "Do you have news?"

Bernice grabbed Mrs. Nancy's cold hand. It responded with a squeeze.

"I'm Dr. Hubbard." The doctor pulled over a chair and sat facing the two women. His face exuded kindness and calmness. And sadness. His hand joined the two ladies in an embrace on the table.

Nancy began to weep.

"There were some complications in surgery. Robert fought hard, but I'm afraid it was his time."

Nancy, in shock, could not look at the doctor. Bernice could not look away. His aura was as gentle as could be.

Dr. Hubbard tightened his grip on the ladies hands. "He passed quickly, without any pain."

A tear ran down Bernice's cheek. Her heart skipped a beat.

"Before he went under Robert told me something." The doctor softly added.

The devastated woman summoned the courage to look her tormenter in the eyes.

"He said that he loved you, and if anything should happen to him not to be too sad. He said he would be in a better place, waiting for you." The doctor smiled a sad smile. "You believe in heaven, don't you?"

"Yes" Mrs. Nancy whispered.

"You know, there is no time in eternity. I believe we all reach heaven at the same time." He patted her arm. "When you cross those pearly gates Robert will be there. To him, it will be as if no time has passed."

Through the shock, through the sadness, a comfort embraced Mrs. Nancy. While she still wept, it was not quite as bitter.

Bernice quietly said. "Thank you, doctor."

With that, he got up and walked out of the room. The women did not speak for a while. They just held hands and cried together.

"Nancy White?" a different doctor addressed the room.

Bernice got up and through tear blurred eyes walked to the man. "Can I help you?"

"I need to speak to Nancy White," and then slightly quieter, "her husband just passed away." The man responded. You could tell he had done this before, and did not enjoy it.

"Dr. Hubbard has already told us. Thank you." Bernice was annoyed by this callous oversight.

"Dr. Hubbard?" A suspicious look formed around the doctor's face. "I'm sorry but you must be mistaken. There is no Dr. Hubbard at this hospital. Robert White passed five minuets ago. I was there." He was obviously perplexed.

Bernice was obviously shaken. "Thank you for notifying us, but like I said, she knows. Please leave us. She's had enough for today."

The young, tired woman went back to her friend. "It was nothing."

As she silently sat with the old woman, she glanced down at the almost completed word search. With a shaking hand she picked up a pen and circled the word "Angel".

You can contact Luke Joshua Davis at luke@sermondepository.com

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