Seeing The New Year From Its Lobby

If opposites attract, they first must co-exist. Like health and illness. When these co-existing opposites collide and force us into the care of a hospital, it is often only then we get in touch with our mortality. And what it all means.

In Chicagoland, we have dozens of medical facilities with thousands of professionals in their service. As patients in them, the meaning of mortality can become searingly clear. But just maybe you don’t have to be a patient to get in touch with that clarity. Especially in preparing for a better 2017. To that very purpose, our churches, temples and mosques are always at the ready. However, consider a quirky yet quicker addendum.

Your local hospital lobby.

That calls for some explanation. Those of us who have just spent time in these hospitals have learned the hard way what others might learn the easier way. How? Perhaps spending an hour in one of their lobbies. If you give yourself over to it, chances there are your senses will trigger a whole circuit-board of life-lessons that could help you better navigate the days ahead. Without the angst of being a patient yourself, here you are witnessing scenes from the daily drama between health and illness that go on 24/7.

Here, you are sitting between two enormous daily spectacles. The one outside the lobby where life is proceeding in its predictable rhythms; the one further inside where trained men and women are working to get patients back to such sweet predictable rhythms once again.

You look around. Surgeons are quietly reporting the good and not so good to waiting family members…. technicians are wheeling equipment on to its next assignment….nurses and maintenance staff are moving down otherwise hushed corridors. You are of course only in the audience here, but still you are catching glimpse of some of the lead-players and walk-on’s to a daily performance some of us know all too well. The plot line navigates between those perpetual opposites which, if properly understood, put things into urgent perspective.

Once you participate in the drama of health and illness, you are perhaps for the first time realizing what counts and what doesn’t. Outside the lobby, life hurtles on in its foreordained rhythms, where power and wealth and beauty command. Inside here, patients and their loved ones would gladly forego each for another hour of rest, another year of life.

The promise of a silent stay in this lobby…? It is only the entrance to a city-within-a-city; still, it is entirely possible the entrance to truth is sufficient unto the day. Further inside, humanity’s daily dance between health and illness plays on, but an attentive audience out here can be privy to its mightiness.

Its light can illuminate whatever waits just up ahead….

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