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The Arrivals July 23, 2009

Posted by markgeil in Posts with titles that sound like a horror movie.
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I had a 7:00 meeting at the Children’s Hospital this morning. Tricky time for a meeting in the ATL, since traffic is unpredictable at that time of morning. Said traffic was blissfully light this morning, so I arrived quite early. I parked, fired up the laptop, and started to get some work done, but I was soon distracted by the arrivals.

I was in a parking deck for a building housing outpatient surgeries. It’s not usually too serious; ear tubes, orthopedics, that sort of thing. Still, going “under the knife” is always pretty serious, an observation plainly visible on the faces of the arrivals.

The minivans would park. A mom would emerge. Sometimes she’d tend to a bag first, with that fidgety demeanor that stress induces. Then, the child. Sometimes carried, so she’ll stay asleep as long as possible. Sometimes awakened because he’s gotten too big to carry. Pajamas. Flip flops. Disheveled hair. A rude interruption of a summer’s lazy, routine morning.

One dad gathered the sleepy siblings and followed a tentative distance behind. Another pulled in the spot beside the minivan, his sedan probably destined for work later. Once I finally went to my meeting, I shared an elevator ride with a full set of grandparents, the sort who were likely there to show their support but would end up getting lost a lot.

The slow and steady parade of arrivals was inspiring. They were a rally, each one. United for a common cause, facing a frightening unknown, some of these families were probably more “together” this morning than they had been in years. The pall of sickness was cut by the strained smile on a terrified mom putting on a confident face for her children. The uncertainty on the other end of the elevator doors was diminished by the unrestrained prayers that I could practically see on their way up to Heaven.

Why is life hard? Why do such mighty obstacles come our way? Because sometimes we need them. We are a people built for the rally, and sometimes it’s the only way our prayers become honest, our disunity becomes petty, and our self-confidence becomes dependence in the God who is bigger than the mightiest obstacle.

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