Sunday Psalms: Fictional Narratives Inspired by The Psalms, Proverbs, & Other Biblical Works
Pacing the tiled floor of the hospital ward, I drink coffee thick as asphalt and barely notice the wretched taste it leaves in my mouth. The doctor said the surgery would last three hours. That was five hours ago.
I tap my foot and crane my head to look down the hallway for some sign of life to emerge from those closed doors. Simultaneously, I both hope and fear the truth. Is she alive? Will she ever speak again? Will she know me? And if she doesn’t, how will I go on? Everything that matters is in that operating room.
Restless, I wander down to the chapel. It’s the only place where I can find private sanctuary. In the waiting rooms, there’s always someone walking by, always someone asking me questions. Always a phone ringing, someone crying, someone laughing. No one ever wants to go to the hospital, and yet I’ve never felt so overwhelmed by people.
The chapel is tiny. Barely more than a closet. There are several rows of hard benches with faded cushions that are supposed to provide some measure of comfort. A wooden cross hangs on the wall. Kneeling down, I am no longer in control. I am weak and vulnerable. The terror I’ve been holding back rises to the surface, my knees collapse and I am on the ground, weeping like a child.
I’m not sure how long I lay there on the floor. A nurse finally comes to tell me that my wife is finally out of surgery. They say if she can make it through the night, there just might be a chance.
As I walk back towards her room, I see that the swing shift has gone home. The graveyard crew quietly moves to and fro, offering minimal interaction as I helplessly enter her room and sit by her side. They have learned that words are futile when a husband waits on the cusp of life and death.
I am thoroughly exhausted, but I am much too nervous to sleep. If I close my eyes she might slip away. I station myself by her siding, holding her hand and studying the machines that preserve her life. Pumping, dripping, beeping. Maybe there’s a chance.
Throughout the dark hours of the night, I become familiar with my wife’s weak body. Weak pulse, deep cuts, fractured bones, and I realize how much I admire her. Her fight for life and gives me courage to hang on.
“Care for some bad coffee?” It’s already morning, and a chipper CNA is holding out a Styrofoam cup. I gratefully accept the offering and mumble a thank you.
Through the curtain I notice the first light of dawn making its appearance in the sky. I lean back in my chair, drink deeply, and close my weary eyes. We have made it through the night.
I wait for the Lord, my soul doth wait, and in his word do I hope. My soul waiteth for the Lord more than they that watch for the morning: I say, more than they that watch for the morning. Psalm 130:5-6 (KJV)
Written by Heidi Sadler, Inspired by Psalm 130:5-6. Copyright © 2015, 2016 by Heidi Sadler, All Rights Reserved.