So. Tonight I sit in a chair tapping these words on an iPad in a room at the Minneapolis Heart Institute. My heart’s misbehaved and my doctor is trying a different medicine: tikosyn. So far, so good. For three days he administers the drug and then it’s EKGs to see my heart’s reaction.
My parents aren’t well. I spent last week with my Father in the hospital. He was released on Sunday. My Mother spent time in the hospital last month. So my sister and my brother have gathered around them to assist them in my absence.
My best friend came to see me today. I sat beside him Sunday. I was too sick to sip brandy and too tired to care. He sat with me today and we marveled at the miracle of medicine. I’ve improved. The rest of the time I’ve sat in solitude with a rosary in my hand and gratitude in my prayer.
Three days of solitude. It’s like a retreat. And in keeping with that, I’m examining my conscience. I’ve discovered I’m not frightened anymore. I don’t have regrets anymore. I’m at peace.
I sat in the admitting area yesterday waiting for my room. The admitting area is an open space with open cubicles. The main hall of the hospital is the boundary to the waiting area and I sat and watched the world pass by. A man - mid 30s - above average appearance - walked the hall with a smile on his face. I don’t know why he felt happy. Maybe good news about a friend. Maybe an encouraging prognosis. I don’t know. But I saw his smile and I saw the people he passed offer avoidance and ignorance; they avoided his glance and ignored his existence. But I didn’t. I saw him. I smiled; he smiled. A brief communion of synchronized souls. We caught each other’s eyes and nodded our hellos.
“Have you traveled outside the country in the last 21 days?”
The question is rote. Asked at every appointment. I thought to answer, “I’ve shared breaths with people from around the world this week!” Same waiting rooms. Same hospital halls. Same cafeterias. But I didn’t. I answered “No” and silently thanked God for all the spaces He’s placed my feet.
“Go forth in the grace of God” the priest concluded my confession on Saturday. Grace. Graced.