When the sight of the red-blood-cell bag would become too much, or the pokes too many, or the smell of the chemotherapy would overwhelm my nose—I wanted to escape. To hide. With my whole being I wanted to run. Run far and run fast.
But he was four. How could I run? So I stayed.
But sometimes, when he drifted off to sleep, his lashless, blue-veined eyelids closed, I would take a walk. Just around the corner from, but on the same floor as the children’s cancer ward, was a “Meditation Room.”
I can still see it. Carefully constructed to not cater to any specific religion or belief, it was a small room with soft lighting glowing out from behind non-descript wooden cutouts.
I can still feel it. The benches were hard, as if to remind one that staying long was not an option, but they were wide, in case someone needed to curl up and cry.
I can still smell it. Some sort of citrusy scent that did not allow a hint of chemotherapy, blood or medications. Someone had made an effort to rid the room of that hospital smell, but a hint remained.
I can still hear it. Thickened walls meant you couldn’t hear the hospital noises but the soft lighting was still fluorescent because the buzz never stopped. Hospital announcements would still intrude on the silence, because they were too important to screen out.
If someone was already in there unspoken rules were observed. No talking. No noticing the red-rimmed eyes. No cell phones. Acknowledgement was fine, but do not talk about your ill child. Nod and move to your own isolated spot.
Hiding from reality. Hiding from fear. Hiding from the cancer ward – that place where joyful and optimistic children were dying.
Sometimes I felt guilty. Hiding like that. Was I running? Was I avoiding? Was I selfish?
Oh I don’t think so. I searched for my Creator, my Physician, my Savior and my Friend. I needed those moments on those hard benches with the soft lighting and the soft buzzing and the soft silence in order to face the hard days ahead.
Sometimes we need our soft and loving God to face whatever is ahead. Don’t forget that, my friends! Hide away, even if just for a moment, and renew yourself in Him!
He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
2 I will say[a] to the LORD, “My refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.”
3 For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler
and from the deadly pestilence.
4 He will cover you with his pinions,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness is a shield and buckler.
5 You will not fear the terror of the night,
nor the arrow that flies by day,
6 nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness,
nor the destruction that wastes at noonday.
7 A thousand may fall at your side,
ten thousand at your right hand,
but it will not come near you.
8 You will only look with your eyes
and see the recompense of the wicked.
9 Because you have made the LORD your dwelling place—
the Most High, who is my refuge[b]—
10 no evil shall be allowed to befall you,
no plague come near your tent.
11 For he will command his angels concerning you
to guard you in all your ways.
12 On their hands they will bear you up,
lest you strike your foot against a stone.
13 You will tread on the lion and the adder;
the young lion and the serpent you will trample underfoot.
14 “Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him;
I will protect him, because he knows my name.
15 When he calls to me, I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble;
I will rescue him and honor him.
16 With long life I will satisfy him
and show him my salvation.”