“All Roads Lead To The Hospital”

25 Apr

     Oh, all roads lead to the hospital.  We’re born here, we get
         sick here, we get well here.  All these big dramatic moments
         and the hospital just gobbles ’em up.  Do you think a hospital
         has memories?  I bet it does.  I bet when I walked in it
         thought “Oh, you again.  You’re the little boy who broke his
         leg in 1966.  Hello, old friend.”  Wow, a talking hospital.
         That would be cool…. (Niles Crane… from the TV series “Frasier”)

Being a big fan of the TV show “Frasier”, I have seen that particular episode multiple times. That particular line from Niles crossed my mind as I was walking through the hallways of Huguley Hospital in Fort Worth, Texas late tonight. As a Pastor nearby, I have lost count of the many times I have walked down those halls.  Tonight, I was there to visit a family who was about to lose their mother. She was in ICU and the outlook wasn’t good. I had been with this family before in a ministerial capacity. Tonight would probably not be the last. We walked into ICU, prayed over the dear mother as she laid in the hospital bed, consoled one another as the nurse explained the bleak outlook. As I have always done, I made sure the family knew how to reach me in the event I was needed before I planned my next visit.

It was quiet as I left the ICU waiting room. But that was okay as many memories were occupying my thoughts. In that same waiting room, I had sat with families whose loved ones had been through emergency surgery. Many times, I met family members for the first time and was able to share Jesus with them.

Walking away from the waiting room, I remembered that the maternity ward was located in the floor just below me. I remember holding many a newborn in their first few days of living. There is a wonder in holding those babies that never grows old. It’s always so precious.

I made my way through the main waiting area at the entrance to the hospital. I remember sitting with Tracy’s family as her first biopsy was performed. At that time, we still had a lot of hope that she would grow old and have grandchildren. That was not to be. I remembered walking with another family through that same waiting room a few years earlier as one lady called her son to inform him that his grandmother had passed away.  A few years later, I would conduct the funeral of the grandfather as well.

A few more steps down the hall and I was by the elevators heading up to another ICU area.  Mrs. Casstevens had been up there and I remember the honor I felt to conduct both her and her husband’s funerals.  Right past those elevators was the emergency room. My goodness, how many times had I been in those rooms. Somebody’s heart attack. Someone injured at a car wreck. Being with a family that found out that the ambulance got there too late and their loved one would not be coming home.

Then I was out in the parking lot. I saw myself in 2008 in that parking lot as I met people coming to see a friend to tell them the friend had gone to be with Jesus.  I had stood out there while others smoked cigarettes at 3 in the morning and I desperately tried to connect with them during a very trying time.

I am nobody special. I have no real superpowers. But I left that parking lot and headed home feeling grateful. God had given me the gift of “being there”. And because of that, I like to think He used me in some small way for His glory.

All roads may not lead to the hospital.  But there are plenty of memories in those places.


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