There were people with a mild cough, 3 ladies with a set of twins - one of which looked like he (she?) had pinkeye, and a vagrant looking for a bed and breakfast by way of a stomach pain that kept him moaning in the corner with one eye on the nurses station and the other eye on the T.V.
The saddest face was the one on a septuagenarian who jumped up eagerly to greet her obviously anorexic daughter. She had sat there patiently for 3 hours, reading with the practiced nonchalance of a women accustomed to noisy waiting rooms. What really killed me was her look of relief as she stood facing her ugly, angry, shriveled up 50 year old child. Clearly they were walking a well worn path, clearly they had played these roles for years. The mother trying to put her arm around a woman who chose hunger as her only friend. The arm was brushed away, but that loving arm swung back again each time as they left the hospital.
It made me wonder: what happened after the first rescue? Did mom resign herself to anguish or align herself with unshakeable hope? How often did she get the call? Did 911 have her on speed dial? How do you love an imploding heart that turns inward and slowly sucks itself dry?
"This is the gospel", I thought. This is Christ's love for me extended, reaching even as I brush it away. I grasp at everything but heaven and as I look down at my handfuls of earth I realize that I am only dust and my only hope is in a God who is always there, stretching out His hand.
"When he falls, he will not be hurled headlong, Because the LORD is the One who holds his hand." Ps. 37:24