Last week I prayed about wanting to interact with people beyond  my predictable, well-formed bubble.  Today I spent an hour talking to a young woman about her marriage and raising kids.  She initiated the conversation, wanting to know if I had ever thought of walking out on my marriage. What kept me in it during the hardest times?

It turned into the very kind of raw, honest conversation I was hungering to have with someone who was soul searching … I just wasn’t planning on the setting.

This young woman was our nurse for the day and the conversation took place here, in St. Joe’s trauma ward.  We were sitting together, watching  Mike’s monitor, waiting for his blood pressure to decrease and hoping that we would see signs that he was going to wake up from day four of his coma. Something I’m still doing at this very moment … waiting.

Just a few moments ago I stepped out for a moment and found a man pacing in the hall, obviously distressed.  His wife was in a similar battle as Mike, only she had taken a turn for the worse.  We stood and prayed, two strangers, deeply bonded if only for five minutes, by crisis and a stripping away of all things  unimportant in our lives.

Yesterday morning, Sallie and I sat in the waiting room while nurses attended to Mike without us in the way.  A couple stumbled in, distraught; the man sighed heavily with anguish. Without thinking much about it, I stepped over and asked if they were okay … could I pray?  They shared the need and permitted the prayer … especially the man, who later said he didn’t believe but he welcomed anything at the moment.

When we first arrived last Monday, we shared the waiting room with a family who have been here for over three weeks; their brother having survived a blown aneurism.  Yesterday, another family squeezed into a surprisingly small and uncomfortable waiting room, their 26 year-old-son also an aneurism victim.

We feed each other … hug each other … tear up together … offer to help, even though we know we have nothing that could fix the real problem.

The bubble is burst … obliterated.  This wasn’t what I pictured when I prayed last week.

I already miss the bubble … BUT God is here.  My prayers aren’t  answered yet … there are tears … there is anxiety … there are unknowns … there is a constant flow of friends and strangers … there are relentless prayers … there are ancient promises that still have breath and life clinging to them … there is peace … there is hope … there is a bigger picture.

God IS here … farewell, bubble.