The waiting room is a difficult place of being. I recently waited 23 hours in a waiting room while my husband, David, was in a surgery that was suppose to last 10-12 hours. I was patient the first 12 hours I think, and the faces of strangers became familiar as I knew they could relate to what I was feeling. I didn’t know them, yet still their faces seemed like those of a reunion I was in. A reunion of those waiting on a loved one. A reunion of people whose faces were personally numb from fear. Every 2.5-3 hours they would call with an update that was the same, “We are still working on the tumor and can’t give an idea of an end time yet.” After 14 hours of hearing this, as everyone else who was waiting left, and as it became the next day, my patience wore thin. In the early hours of the morning I started to cry out to God begging him to please help with whatever was happening. I then started saying out loud, “David come back to me please!” When have I felt like I was being put in time out like this before? It felt like being told to sit and suffer quietly. I began to feel guilty that I wanted so badly just to stretch my legs out for a few minutes. Everything in my body started hurting on the outside while this empty pain started eating me alive from the inside out. The fear of losing him and thought of never seeing his face on Earth again was unbearable. The faces of my new friends left me one by one until their were none. When have I felt this way before?
When I got the call that my daughter had been ran over I felt it then. I didn’t know by what and assumed an 18 wheeler. It was a motorcycle. The relief I felt when I saw her smiling face even though her ear hung off her head and her collar bone stood straight up.
When my grandmother fell down the stairs was another time. I held her in the Emergency Room while blood poured down her body and they stapled her head back together. Her face calm as it had been every day of my life.
Many years ago, I remember feeling time stood still when my daughter told me my son was hanging from the swing set and I looked outside to see him dangling from it and lifeless. It seemed I was on a time warp as I ran to him and lifted him up and see that he was hanging from his pants that got caught on the swing. His face of giggles was music to my soul because I thought it would be lifeless.
The other waiting room that comes to mind was when we were in the basement and felt the tornadic circular winds surround us and start to encircle us and destroy our home. When outside that early morning, my daughter called my mom and said “Nana, we’ve been hit by a tornado, we’ve lost everything” and I said “We can do this (sweeping my hand toward the rubble that was our home). We’ve got each other and we’ve got Jesus.” I am told I then raised my arms and sang a praise song to God. I don’t remember. I know I pictured the sweet face of my Savior.
When I saw my husbands face after those 23 hours of waiting, everything about me calmed and sweet relief came once more. When my face touched his again I felt life pour back into my body. I will never forget how precious his face looked.
What I’ve learned from this is that there will be times in life when I can’t even feel my own face and I’m in a waiting room that feels like being suspended into the unknown and floating aimlessly, there is a face that I seek. A face of complete peace. The face of Jesus.
Kim Crawford Meeks
5.1.19, one month after
For the month of April, I have the privilege of sharing the heart of a fellow chaplain and friend. Chaplain David Peacock is our Cardiac Care Chaplain in the hospital where I serve and is Pastor of Hickory Hills Church in Alabaster, AL. Since Chaplain Peacock supports those having issues with their hearts, I asked him to share with us how he cares for the hearts of patients beyond the physical. If you know him, then you know a minister who loves to see people experience reconciliation with one another, themselves, and with God. Beyond relationships, he talks about the importance of reconciling the head and the heart when one is faced with a factual situation that the heart just does not want to accept. He recommends during these confusing situations to ask questions in order to reconstruct a new future. He poses the following questions for us to consider regarding the importance of those conversations with others, self, and God:
What if a conflict could bring us closer to one another?
What if a disagreement reveals what we deeply care about?
What if we attempt to understand up close versus throwing stones from afar?
What if we really listen for once?
What if those who yell the loudest are actually those who are most afraid?
What if an enemy could become an allay?
What if our conversations could inspire other conversations?
My chat with Chaplain David Peacock regarding the heart, reminds me of a quote from one of my favorite books/movies The Secret Life of Bees:
Lily Owens: If your favorite color is blue, why did you paint the house pink?
August Boatwright: That was May’s doing. When we went to the paint shop, she latched on to a color called, “Caribbean Pink.” She said it made her feel like dancing a Spanish Flamenco. I personally thought it was the tackiest color I had ever seen, but I figured if it could lift May’s heart, it was good enough to live in.
Lily Owens: That was awfully nice of you.
August Boatwright: Well, I don’t know. Some things in life, like the color of a house, don’t really matter. But lifting someone’s heart? Now, that matters.
To my friend, David, and to August Boatwright, I say, Amen. What if we realize lifting someone’s heart is truly our shared purpose in this life. Now that is what truly matters. May we all lift the heart of another this month.
From my heart to yours,
Chaplain Kim Crawford-Meeks
Today Valentine’s Day. God is love. You are loved today and always. Be loving to others.
A tear needs a question
-Not a tissue to dry it
A broken heart needs a listening ear
-Not a lashing tongue
A person with scars needs friendship in the present
-Not told of failures in the past
A moment of fear needs a hand in the dark
-Not a switch for the light
A person in agony needs compassion and validation
-Not an answer
A soul needs to connect
-Not wander in the fog
An insecure mind needs to know
-Not question or wonder
A living being needs continual love
-Not halfway, some of the time, or when it feels good
-With all you hear, all you say, all you remember, all you forget, all you touch, all you feel, all of your heart, all the way, with always a yes, and never a no.
1 Peter4:8-11 “Above all, love each other deeply because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.”
Even if we have very little of material items to give someone, we can give the greatest gift of all, which is love. Love has to show up. Love is certainly just being with someone. It is also giving to, doing for, speaking up, and reaching out. Just showing up is sometimes exactly what someone needs, but who you are and what you do when you show up also matters. Love is a choice. Love is a verb. Love has to love daily and deeply. It isn’t a hobby, a habit, or only there for when you need it. Love is a ministry. When you take someone’s heart in your hands, you are accepting the greatest responsibility on this planet. Love looks at another as a gift. A treasure. Figure out how to care for this treasure you have been given. Do you find out how to take care of the things on earth you treasure? If someone gave you a football, signed by your favorite team, during a championship game, would you play with it out in the mud and leave it outside to ruin? If someone gave you a diamond ring that belonged to a queen, would you leave it by the sink, just to fall down the drain? No. You choose to take care of things you value as rare and precious treasures. The heart of this person that you hold in your hand is a greater treasure than all earthly things.
Simply, what can you do to speak love to your loved one today?
Words of Affirmation? Say I love you. Tell them why you love them. With as many forms of communication as we have today, this one is easy.
Acts of Service? Run an errand, help relieve some kind of responsibility from their plate. Make sure they know you are willing and seek to do things for them. That you care about giving to them through lifting a little of their load.
Quality Time? Focus on them. Quiet time with them. Fun things you both like or maybe asking what they like.
Physical Touch? Leave with affection, greet with affection, offer affection just because. Babies can die without physical touch and bonding. It is a true need God gives. Think about how it would be to feel you will be alone forever without anyone to hug you, hold you, kiss you…so if you have people in your life that you love appreciate it and offer this nurturing act of love.
Receiving Gifts? It is not about the price tag, or the brand, it is about what the fabric is made of. A little gift says “I was thinking about you” “I knew you would love this” “I want you to have things I have given you among your sentimental treasures of life” Can be a flower, a pack of mints, a card, a $5 gift card for a treat…possibilities are endless.
To me, all of these should be present in a healthy relationship. Some are certainly more needed and important than others. All of these speak love and are needed to allow a person to perceive that you love them. All of these should bring you pleasure if you are giving them to someone you love…if not then I have to say hmmm? What’s going on with that? We should stop and examine our relationships to see if all of these are present. Am I doing these things?
I think much healing comes through offering a combination of these love actions.
I think trust is built.
I think bonds are strengthened.
I think Jesus loves us in all these ways and we are suppose to imitate Him.
Examine yourself to make sure you are doing all of the above and if not, do them.
Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger..Ephesians 4:26
Run to them, fall into their arms…embrace…talk in whispers – unless it is to scream how much you love them, reach out and hold their hand, look them in the eyes…these moments are the ones that count….run to them. How much greater this gift of love is, than your petty annoyances.
What can you do to initiate peace? Seek to understand, not to be understood, and your anger might dissolve long before the sun sets. For those who refuse to seek peace with your loved one, then examine your heart and motives.
If you are in conflict with that special person, run. Go. Find them. Don’t waste a second. Ask forgiveness. Forgive. Kiss. Embrace. Make it right!!! Go!
Don’t wait until it is too late.
It is better to say whoa than uh-oh. Don’t let your anger damage the relationship until you are saying, uh-oh, what have I done? I’ve lost them. Say whoa on your anger, rather than uh-oh I lost this person I love.