Sunday, February 19, 2017

The Children's Hospital

Finally, I could sit and worry no longer. I got in the car and drove 40 minutes to pick up lunch and take it to my friends. I stopped at the store and picked up some fruit and some nuts. Over the next few weeks, they'll need much more than this.

My friend, was my student. My friend was her mother, and one day earlier she'd been diagnosed with an aggressive leukemia. Thank goodness she's a fighter, because she's just entered the ring that will require everything she's got.

I've been trying to process the randomness of the strike. Trying to process how we will start class on Tuesday. Trying to process the non-importance of teaching terrorism or grammar, or MLA format on their research papers. Everything about life has been re-shuffled. Categories of importance have been flipped.

How will we carry on? How will we discuss our book when our missing student was at the center of the discussion? Her book was decorated with colorful sticky notes. When questions were asked, she had an answer. She was the one with the questions, and the quotes that fit just right.

My stay was short. Less than ten minutes. Yet, I walked away with more life re-shuffling, more life prioritizing, more gratitude. And the distinct feeling that once a year, everyone should visit a children's hospital. Not because I would wish their lives to be interrupted or to interrupt the hospital.

 All one has to do is sit in the lobby and understand the preciousness of life, the uncertainty of life. Every person who enters is pained. He or she carries gifts, or food, or a burden. Even in the lobby, one sees the children who are well, go home, and the children who are never well, go home too. Yet, amidst the gloom, there is hope and love and patience. It's a place where I am sure angels reside. And at least once a year, we need to be in the presence of angels to keep our hope, to extend our gratitude for the preciousness of life.