|artist Pamela Spiro Wagner|
She said softly, "Are you praying?" and I said yes. She picked up her Bible and asked if I'd like to pray with her. Yes, I did.
I'll call her Lauren. She was in her 20s, and she was very, very sick. She spent most days huddled under her blanket, a hat pulled down low on her forehead. She hardly ever spoke above a whisper. Some days, there were easy smiles, but mostly, she was either almost crying or crying. Her pockets bulged with tissues.
Lauren and I talked and prayed. She was suffering so much from childhood wounds, mostly inflicted by her father. These were not the wounds one could see - these were deep, treacherous, trench-like wounds that scarred her heart and her soul.
She thought one day she might be released, but no - she was not ready. She knew it, but it still saddened her. As good as the care was, as important as it was - it's not a great place to be.
I've been maintaining my mental health for more than a year, and Lauren still creeps into my mind and my prayers. She was so sweet, so gentle, so kind ... and so hurt.
Yesterday, my sister and I ran into the local Panera to get lunch - and there was Lauren, at a cash register. I walked up to her, and said softly, "Do you remember me?" She said I looked familiar, and I said, "We were in the hospital together last summer" and then her face lit up.
I asked her how she was. She said she was good - she had spent most of the last year at an out-of-state women's ministry center, getting intense counseling, and she was doing well. I told her I'd often thought of her and continued to pray for her.
Had the counter not been between us, we would have gently hugged, just as we did the day I left the hospital.
God is good. On a day when I had to get painful spinal shots, I got to see someone I never expected to see again, and she was well. What a gift.