Rob and I take about 3-4 walks a day with Reagan around the big pond at the Arnold/Winnie Palmer hospital complex. During the last hospital stay I remember telling Rob, “It would stink to be one of those families who walks around this pond as the outing of the day…I don’t want to be that family.”
Yet, here we are…that family. A lot of things I didn’t want to happen have happened…
Anyway, we were on the side by Orange Ave. so the traffic was loud, and I heard this woman singing, just belting her tune across the lake. She was in a wheelchair and didn’t have any legs, she was older…not sure how old. She didn’t have many teeth either, but it didn’t stop her from smiling huge when we walked by.
A little further down was a man on a bench reading his super worn out Bible. He didn’t look completely homeless, definitely poor though, tattered stuff, a big backpack of belongings like he carried a lot of stuff with him.
And then there’s us, and our daughter who is just gazing out the side of her stroller while we walked the lake…not much expression coming from Ray Ray, but I think she liked being outside.
Earlier in the day, I went to Barnies to pick up a coffee. There were students on their laptops, some were studying with their books and highlighters close by. A couple of women were talking, laughing and carrying on.
I compared the two experiences and thought to myself, Jesus is hanging out here at the hospital. Society remains at the coffee shop…above the fray, above the marginalized, likely not even thinking about the lowliest of them…but Jesus doesn’t hang out with the popular kids. He hangs out with the lady who people probably look at in disgust b/c she doesn’t have legs or teeth, but if you get close enough, you’ll hear a beautiful voice and see a joyful smile. In that moment, I felt close to God for one of the first times since Reagan’s event. Of course, we are still crying and still mad and angry about all the things we have lost, I don’t think those tears will ever go away. But God felt close, and that was comforting, even if only for a brief moment in time.