As the doctor addressed concerns and answered our questions, I had to give thanks for the medical team. They had stabilized the heart, made a passage for the breathing, and stopped an infection. Nonetheless, the prognosis was not good. Yet, the family is not ready to give up. After the meeting we went back into ICU and I was quite moved by how tenderly the wife talked to her husband who had not spoken a word in three weeks. How she stroked his face, and offered encouragement. Even as she left, she assured him she would return the next day.
I left the hospital, thinking of the balance between medicine and love. Hospitals can do much, but often it is the extra touch of love that coaxes a human back to life. Not always, of course. But enough that we all find courage.
As I drove down the hill, prepared to take the same way back home, I spotted a sign: "Heirloom Tomatoes." I pulled into the dirt parking lot where pumpkins of all sizes were placed. I felt oddly drawn to a large pumpkin, not bright orange, but of various hues of pale orange, grayish, blueish green, and yellowish white. It was then I begin to notice the fall colors all around me and how fresh the air was. I asked where the tomatoes were grown, and was directed to the back of the stand, where there was at least an acre,maybe more, of shaggy tomato plants still bearing fruit. I paid for my very fine pumpkin and dark red and green tomatoes, and decided that rather than take the same road back, I would turn left.
The countryside was magnificent - golds, greens, and reds glittered in the sun. I drove in silence, and memories of other visits to the wine country came to mind. I delighted in remembering incredible meals, and the taste of one particular Alsatian style wine that caused me to exclaim, "I am drinking flowers!". I smiled as I heard again the laughter of friends as we shared a bottle of champagne on a terrace overlooking a vineyard and celebrated a weekend off. I felt no need to stop, but rather to simply drive and savor the beauty of the day, the beauty of the past and present coming together.
God beckons us ever on, and this encouragement we can trust. Let us breathe deeply, and live.