The woman in the next cubby reminds me of a young Karen Carpenter. She’s very thin with dark soulful eyes. I speak to her. She answers minimally. I try once again. No response. I figure she wants to be alone with her thoughts so I comply. The person who seems in charge of this round-up closes the curtain between me and Karen girl. It's just as well I thought... but still say a silent prayer for my neighbor.
Minutes drag as my backdrop attention fleets between the two TV screens to the lively group conversation behind the curtain on my left and the silent girl on my right. All the while my focus is on the nonstop dialogue going through my head.
"Is my life about to change? What about my meeting tomorrow? Can I still make the quilt I signed up for? Will I be able to take the trips we're planning? See my daughter in Dallas? Go to the Lavender Conference? The Creation Museum? I will never leave you or forsake you. What about my mother? She needs me. My husband needs me. I want to dance at my son’s wedding and hold my grandchildren one day. I have plans God. There's so much I want to do. Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Please don't let it be cancer...
My thoughts are abruptly interrupted by the opening of the curtain on my right. Karen girl's young waif-like face leans forward "Are you awake?" she smiles. We exchange a few words. She admits she’s never done this before. Her eyes speak fear of the unknown. My own struggling heart tries to encourage her in those brief fleeting moments before they roll her wheel chair into radiology. When I'm left alone I find my thoughts and prayers more directed to Karen girl.
In this process I’ve learned the corralling for radiology goes on almost 24/7. I’m told I was fortunate not to be awoken at 3 in the morning to be brought here. So many scans on these machines that will predict our destinies.
Everyone here has a story. Everyone will have an outcome. On any given day we can be dropped into this unfamiliar world waiting for possibly life changing news. In this space we’re all on common ground. Not one is exempt. Choosing to step out of our own private space to briefly touch one another’s lives somehow makes the momentous occasion lighter and less lonely.
Perhaps that was the real reason I was at this spot on this particular day. It wasn’t about me at all. I wasn’t even expected to make some grand proclamation…but just be an understanding friend for a few moments in time for Karen girl.
Postscript. Although this isn’t the point of my blog, I want you to know my scan results were good on this particular day. However, we know many who have gotten different news and have ongoing challenges and experiences that far exceed mine. Our hearts and prayers are with them all.