I took a brief hiatus from my blogging this week. 2017 has come in with a crashing of symbols and disharmony and, quite frankly, I’m ready to start over fresh.
Over the weekend, I got a text from my dad. My brother was in the hospital. And he’s fine now and aside from Donald Trump, my life is slowly falling back into place. But ironing out the kinks is proving to be tougher than I thought. The wrinkles are determined. I’m struggling, because this year has been an odd juxtaposition from the start; ripe with little moments of beauty tucked within the fluttering pages of my life’s manuscript, which closely resembles the screenplay for a series of unfortunate events.
And so I reflect back on this weekend. On my brother, lying in the hospital bed, tucked into an oversized, paper thin gown, his face sallow and tired, his chest wracked with hollow, empty coughs, the fluid constricting his lungs. He’s trying to sleep, and the nervous energy from my over caffeinated body is pulsing out in waves. He’s assured me, for the thirtieth time, that there’s nothing I can do for him, despite my aching desire to alleviate his suffering. So I take a walk.
The hallways are empty, and my heels tap along the tiles, echoing loudly within the confines of profound silence. Television sets murmur quietly, their droning tones and flickering lights igniting little seizurous patterns in the boundaries of my ocular pathways. A nurse stops to tell me I look like Taylor Swift; I stop and cringe, then smile and accept the compliment. Everything smells sterile; the fragrance of alcohol is sharp, assaulting my senses.
And I think of the lonely old man a few rooms down, tucked into the back corner of the surgical ward, forgotten. I knock on his door, gently, quietly, unwilling to disturb his reveries but hoping that he shares my loneliness. And he does.
The remnants of his meal sit discarded on the tray table, half of what they claim is a ham sandwich on questionable wheat bread beside the dwindling reservoir that was once a bowl of chicken noodle soup.
“We have good food, for a hospital,” the orderly tells me. But they always say this, and so I am always skeptical.
And the man is lonely, counting the raindrops on the window and the little specks that line the tiled ceiling. There’s no one left to love him and, even worse, there’s no one left for him to love. But we talk for a while and it isn’t anything magical or life altering you’d be bored to tears by the droning of our voices nothing happened there that day. I wish I could tell you we shared stories of grandeur and awe; but there was no divine intervention, the clouds did not open and the sun did not shine. But we shared a moment. In the chaos of the world in the dizzying pace of life we took a minute and slowed down the frantic spinning of the earth. Just a moment.
And it was an adventure into the uncomfortable. It was an adventure into these beautifully forged bonds that connect each one of us through the good and through the bad. Reminding us that we are all tied together by the same string that wraps around this earth. None of us are so different that we cannot appreciate the existence that we share.
Talk to strangers. Open yourself up to love, to connectivity, to relationship. Now, more than ever, you are called to step your foot over the threshold and enter into the chamber of the heart. Do not linger in the hallways; do not pause at the door. Do not hesitate. But enter. Because adventure is never far away; sometimes, it’s just right down the hall.