Hospital Waiting Rooms

Could a greater miracle take place than for us to look through each other’s eyes for an instant?” – Henry David Thoreau

Everyone should have to go into a hospital waiting room once a week and just sit – just sit and observe. I believe the results of such an experiment would be extraordinary.

Because it’s in the hospital waiting room where outward beauty is revealed for what it is and inward beauty shines.

It’s in the hospital waiting room where we are among those walking wounded. Those who bear their scars with nobility. It’s in hospital waiting rooms that you don’t try to hide tears; where you can’t hide anger or disappointment and where shock is just a part of the day’s story.

It’s in hospital waiting rooms where you realize that you share a lot more with fellow humans than you choose to admit. Where you realize that we’re all patients walking a hard path in a broken world.

Where tears fall with abandon but the cries of joy and thanksgiving mean more than we can imagine.

It all happens in a hospital waiting room.

And always there’s the waiting. The waiting for the doctor or therapist; waiting for your family member to pick you up; waiting to hear the results of the blood test. Always waiting and learning to wait more patiently, feeling your heart and stomach flutter with nervous dread.

So head over to a hospital waiting room and feel your heart change.

Blogger’s Note: Cleveland Clinic produced an extraordinary video called “Empathy: The Human Connection to Patient Care” Take a look at this short (4 1/2 minute) video and be encouraged. It felt like the perfect ending to this post.

8 thoughts on “Hospital Waiting Rooms

  1. Reblogged this on Like Mendicant Monks… and commented:
    What Marilyn says here about hospital waiting rooms is capital pastoral theology. I have often had the same thoughts about riding the bus, except the stories are a little less desperate. Witnessing souls at the crossroads of their lives… Reminds me of one of my best beloved quotes:
    “There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilisations – these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit – immortal horrors or everlasting splendors. … Next to the Blessed Sacrament itself, your neighbor is the holiest object presented to your senses.”

    —C.S. Lewis “The Weight of Glory”


  2. I’m sitting here with tears. Each one seemed so alone. It reminded me of a book I read a long time ago by Gail McDonald – “If those who reach could touch”.
    I also remembered several days of sitting in the ICU waiting room at Leahy Clinic when Dad was in there. I got to see the strength of family in several of the people I met. It was a lot of sitting (and knitting for me) with each of us allowed 10 minutes out of each hour with our loved one. We talked – You can’t sit in the same small room for all those hours and not get to know each other. I think what this video portrays so vividly is the pain of some along side the joy of others, and they are both so much of a part of our human experience. And God wants to meet each of us right where we are and we need to acknowledge Him in our sorrows as well as our joys. Thank you!


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