Thursday, August 14, 2008

Relearning About Life

I spent part of Monday and Wednesday this week at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. It is a huge complex in the Texas Medical Center, which must be one of the largest medical centers in the United States. M.D. Anderson is absolutely huge, with over 17,000 employees. It is like a little city.

Thirty years ago was the first time I ever visited M.D. Anderson. I was doing a clinical internship at Southwest Memorial Hospital and went to the Medical Center to use their medical library. I remember the many people that I saw with cancer, but they were surrounded by the most caring medical personnel I had ever been around. It was an amazing place and still is.

When I visited MDA this week it had been five years since I had been on the campus. It looked completely different, except for the original lobby in the main building. Today you've got to get on the right bank of elevators, or you will never find where you are going. It is quite impressive and specialized to the inth degree.

I sat in the Surgical Waiting area and watched people. Some families received the news they were hoping for. Other families received the news they expected, but was not the news they hoped for. Still others were talking about treatment and what might lie ahead. The need was beyond comprehension.

Life was seemed to be in "suspended animation". Normal eveyday life was on hiatus as families were fighting the disease with their loved ones. It felt like there were thousands of people with similar struggles in common. They were behind the walls of these multiple buildings fighting cancer as the world went on outside.

That's the way it is in the spiritual realm as well. Catastrophe strikes. It might be tragedy, disappointment, disillusionment, disease, or even sin. There are so many other possibilities. The person can feel all alone. They can feel separated from friends, relatives, and any other important people in their lives. They can even feel cut-off from God. They don't know where to turn. They just float as if in a gravity-free environment.

What does a person in suspended animation need? Contact would probably be #1. Without contact nothing else will happen. They need someone to really listen to them. They need to know they were heard. They may need a gentle, loving, caring person to respond to them where they are. They need someone to go slow with them. You may be just the person that God could use to bridge a gap that would unite Him with someone really estranged.

What have you thought about while reading this post?

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