Trust, Rust and Polish

Yesterday morning I spent the 45-minute drive to the hospital singing Jason Mraz’s “Life Is Wonderful”. I do love that song! I love the part that says, “And it takes some fears to make you trust. It takes some tears to make it rust. It takes the rust to have it polished.” So I sang it (or rather squawked it because my vocal cords are still messed up from the surgery) over and over and over, because, well, in case you haven’t figured it out, I’m obsessive like that.

When I hit the next county, the morning snow showers began. It was a beautiful sight looking at the rolling hills and countryside with it’s sprinkling of white. Then I saw the mountain was closed because of several accidents and the traffic was backed up. Fortunately, my exit was before all the traffic, but as I sat on the off-ramp I thought about my brother and my sister-in-law who both drive over the mountain to work. So I started to cry, because, well, in case you haven’t figured it out, I do that a lot, too. (And it’s only gotten worse with my new medication.) I prayed for their safety and I thought about all those people who were in accidents. Their lives just changed instantly and dramatically, and I ached with understanding.

Why do I tell you all this? Because after I saw my endocrinologist, I had to sit in the radiology waiting room for over an hour and a half while I waited for my nuclear medicine consult. My doctor was stuck in said traffic. So I people-watched and I wrote in my journal. Here are the snippets of life from yesterday…

This waiting room is dark and not very well decorated. I smell the stale cigarette smoke lingering on people’s clothes. Near me, someone is wearing a strong men’s cologne, and I am already getting a headache. The atmosphere in here is quiet, somber, but not desperate. We are all here for tests, x-rays, diagnoses… waiting to find out what’s wrong and how we will be treated. I wonder about each person here as I sit and wait for my own consult.

I love watching people write. It’s yet another obsession of mine. The woman across from me is left-handed. She is copying recipes from Martha Stewart Living and O magazines, and I wonder if she will try a new recipe for supper tonight.

There is the older couple coming in for x-rays together. She keeps dropping her cane and he bends to help her but almost falls over himself getting back up. And I wonder if I will grow old with Brian and we will have our doctor’s visits together. I want to grow old, but I don’t want the inevitable doctor’s visits. I’ve had enough of those already.

There is the man who looks like my dad. He is sitting with his cabbie hat pushed far back on his graying head and reading “The Guns of Navarone”. It makes me remember sitting in our living room with my parents watching Charles Bronson blast his way in to the Nazi stronghold. (Mental note to add that to my book list.) The man’s phone rings and he answers and has a short conversation with his daughter. I can tell by what he’s saying. He’s worried about her and relieved she made it to school okay. Before he hangs up, I hear him say, “Well, you just shut your phone off now and get some rest. I love you, sweetie, so, so much.”

There is a woman in her wheelchair, gray wig sitting lop-sided on her head, and I listen to her daughter go through the litany of tests her mother must endure. The woman’s legs are swollen with edema, and her shoes are canvas slip-ons. Someone cut a split on top so her feet will fit in them.

She is sitting next to the woman with the Coach purse. That one is put together, carefully coiffed and powdered. I hear a ripping noise, slow and quiet. She is tearing the pages from the People magazine she is reading and slipping them surreptitiously in her handbag. I want to laugh, to go to her and ask if she can’t afford her own magazine. Then I check myself and tell myself not to be so judgmental.

There is a woman who enters frantically her hands trembling, visibly shaken. She spies two friends waiting together and goes to them. They jump to their feet. “What are you doing here?” She collapses into their arms, dissolving in tears. Whispered words. I hear, “Emergency room. Him. I rushed him here.” I almost dissolve into my own tears as I think about her world, obviously turned upside-down in a moment. She leaves to more hugs and “If there’s anything we can do…”

There is the small boy next to me, my Bella’s age, with his gray Batman ski cap. He sits on his mother’s lap, banging the chair with his heels. His Spiderman shoes light up with each kick. I think about my Bear and how he would love those shoes. He smiles at me shyly and I hear his mother tell him it is going to be okay. Her Cowboys jacket rustles as she pulls him close.

There is the elderly woman near me in her brown-striped shirt. In fact, she is very brown, everything about her… hair, clothes, shoes, purse. I wonder if that’s her favorite color. She will not acknowledge me, only stare smileless whenever our eyes meet and I grin at her.

There is a girl who only speaks Spanish and badly broken English. She cannot communicate with the staff and they are all frustrated.

My mind reels over and over with, “Ah la la la la la life is wonderful; Ah la la la la la life goes full circle; Ah la la la la la la life is wonderful; Ah la la la la la life is meaningful.”

The sadness of the waiting room lies heavy on my heart as it fills up more and more, so I begin to talk with God about each one there asking Him to be with them. There is mixture of pain, concern and fear along with bravado and non-chalance etched on the faces in this room.

I am finally called in for my consult, and I sit waiting for the doctor. A plastic skeleton stares at me from the corner, and I am fascinated again just as I was in Anatomy labs years ago. Look at our bodies so intricately woven together… a jumble of bones, tissue, muscles, nerves and vessels all working together. I am amazed by God’s design, and I think about how He designed me. How even with all the things wrong with my body, I am still breathing. My heart is still pumping. I am still living life. I’ve had the fears that make me trust, the tears that make it rust, and the rust to have it polished.

Each moment is precious. Even the moments in the waiting room. Moments where I can pray for others and can learn more about myself.

And the moments in the car driving home and singing again for 45 minutes… “It takes no time to fall in love, but it takes you years to know what love is.” And I think about my Brian.

Yep, life is not always easy, but “Ah la la la la la life is wonderful; Ah la la la la la life is meaningful.”

4 responses to “Trust, Rust and Polish”

  1. Greg and I are people watchers too, especially during long waits in waiting rooms or if there isn’t a good magazine supply. I never thought to bring a journal and write down my thoughts and what I’ve seen. So much I’ve forgotten, but I remember seeing an elderly woman from Elkton at RMH, and I’d heard her telling someone in the waiting room she had just had a follow up Mammogram. She was alone, and it wasn’t too long before I saw a taxi-cab come and pick her up. I felt sooo sad, that she has no one to take her home. Just a random comment on your post.


  2. I loved reading about the people. I love to watch people, too, to wonder what they’re doing. One of my favorite things to do is to drive through a neighborhood in the evening, when it is dark, and look in the windows, to see what the people are doing. Are they eating, talking, watching tv? Are they playing with the kids, are they reading…what are they doing in there, all cozy in their homes. I love the wondering part of it. I hope I don’t sound like a wierdo. 🙂


  3. You know me and my mountain hill of doctor visits myself over the years since I was a child. I know how tiring it can be and I wish it would end for me as well…so I KNOW how you feel and some ways! I too was never really a magazine reader; I was a people watcher. When I go into each of my different doctor’s offices and see the many people around me, I wonder to myself “I wonder what they are here for” Sometimes, these people are laughing and bright smiles, and I wished (when I was younger and sometimes even now) that I can smile and laugh at a doctor’s office. But there are numerous times I have saw scared, frighten people….sometimes people my age. I remember one time when I was about 7 yrs old, I met a girl at my doctor’s office who was scared to death about her upcoming surgery. She would cling to her parents and would refuse to play with the toys. I went over to her and invited her to play with my bears I brought with me. We talked and we found out we had the same doctor and a similar physical disorder/deformity. I told her “we can be hospital buddies!” She laughed! I was happy I made someone smile. Even though I wasn’t a Christian at 7, I remember praying for this girl every night until her surgery time (we both had surgery the same day!). We ended up being friends for the longest time….it’s amazing how God can use people around you as a blessing to your own life!! Even now, I’m a avid people watcher esp in the waiting area…….and I still wonder what their health problem consist of and wonder how they deal with it. I wonder and I pray. And I thank God for the many mercies He’s bestowed on me.

    I love you! Praying for you as you endure treatments!



  4. My sweet Angie,

    I am here with you. We have these momentary light afflictions that is producing in us and eternal weight of glory. You are precious to me.

    May He flood you with His love.

    Grace to you,


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