Wednesday, July 6, 2011

While waiting for an appointment God just might have an appointment for you right there!

While sitting in a doctor's waiting room there are several things we can do. We can bring along a book, which is what I do. I never leave home without a book. We can grab a magazine and search the pages for something entertaining. We can close our eyes and try to take a nap. If you never leave home without your phone you could text friends you haven't spoken with in a while. The list goes on and on. Some people like to sit and stare at you from across the room and then when you look up, they look away as if they have never seen you before. You gotta love those folks!

And then there is the idea of talking with your neighbor in the chair next to you. Why should we? I mean, it's not like we know them, right? We are at the doctor for some reason, we don't really want germs from the person sitting next to you. We go through life like this. Have you ever thought about it? We sit in a room filled with people. All to see a doctor for some reason or another. Everyone different and all having a story to share. But instead of reaching out we clam up and sit quietly ignoring everything around us. Oh, we have our ears open. We are hearing the conversations around us. We are seeing what others are doing, but we act as if we are so busy with ourselves there is no possible reason for us to look up at another.

While reading my book a woman is trying to get my attention. She says, "Hon, what time was your appointment?" I offer the time and then a few others began chiming in their times. When we all figured out who was next and who would be waiting a bit longer we began chatting. When surrounded by older folks you know someone is going to bring up their ailments, right? Sure enough, a woman begins telling what she is dealing with today. Something is going on with her foot. Well, turns out she too has diabetes. She has been in and out of the hospital all year fighting battle after battle. She offers, "I don't think I will be around much longer."

As another woman begins to speak, she shares that she has had a few surgeries this year, four in fact. She has lost forty pounds and doesn't feel well at all. She proceeds to share that she lost her mother a few months back and then her dad. She is having family troubles and now her health is a battle. Tears begin to stain her cheeks as she tries to share. Another begins to open up and share her story too.

I sit there with my mole on my back that I am going to have looked at, hearing story after story of trial and tribulation. I am praying they don't ask me what I am there for. I would feel really silly after hearing their stories to speak up and say, "Um, I have a mole that looks funky."  My heart broke for these women around me. Women in my community that I have never met before. I then begin to feel as if I could just walk right out of the doctor's office. I mean, gosh, a mole? What is a mole compared to what these women are battling? These ladies are really sick and I am here for a mole. A few weeks ago I was there because I was having my own battle of illness. Each and every week is different for me. Some weeks are grand and others I am having a hard time coping. But as I looked around, it made me take my eyes off myself and I began to see something beautifully sad. I know, your thinking, "How can something be beautiful and sad?" Well, the circumstances that surrounded these women were out of their control. They were broken and bruised, but the beauty was that they were sharing their stories with another. They stopped reading that magazine and looked up. They reached out to another. They didn't only tell their story, but they asked about others. There is a great beauty in sharing. In sharing and opening up it makes us real and we form a bond with that one person we have just shared with. What is even cooler, is the fact that we were all strangers. Strangers with a story to tell. It was like in that very moment there was a bond between these who were sharing. As each woman spoke, something happened. It was as if the air was softer. You could see each one sit a little taller. It was as if they had just laid a huge back pack down after a run through the woods. After sharing their stories of misfortune, they began to smile and give comfort to the other. God was at work here.

I sat quietly there in that room of chairs with my heart stirring. I don't know if these women knew the Lord. But on this day, they were laid upon the throne room of the King of kings. I sat and prayed for each one. Now, don't go thinking, "Oh, that Robin is so sweet". No, I really wanted to just get my mole checked out and get out of there. There were people around me talking on their phones loudly and children making all kinds of noise as their parents sat endlessly ignoring them. I was getting really irritated that I was not called in yet. But, it was then that I realized the Lord had something different planned. Those three ladies needed to be lifted up in prayer. They needed to share and have someone really listen. As each woman spoke you realized all you have been taking for granted. Sometimes all we need to see the big picture is to hear the story of another. Once we do our load doesn't seem so heavy.

Too many times we don't listen. We keep our nose in our book and ignore all around us. Too many times we act as if we don't have time for another. It's all about ME. As one person was sitting in the waiting room complaining of the wait, I was soon called in. See, there is something about my doctor that I love. He isn't in a rush. Once you get in that room, he continues to stay for however long it takes. He isn't only concerned with my health, but with me. He tells jokes and asks about me. We talk about books and family. He knows me because he has taken the time. When I am in that room it's as if I am the only patient there. How does he know what is going on with me? He asks questions and then listens as I share. How many times have we asked another, "How are you?", but instead of really listening to them we tune them out and think upon something else. It's as though we feel we should ask how another is, but then inside we are hoping they don't really tell us. It's almost as if we feel aggravated that they are telling us this information we don't really care to hear. Oh, we love to talk, but for some reason it's hard to listen. As a society as a whole do we really care about others? We want everyone to know all about us, but we don't have the time to really listen as another needs to share. I have been on both sides of that table. Have you?

What if we began looking at our time differently? What if we completely took our eyes off of ourselves and tuned in to what was around us? What if we really prayed for those we say we are going to pray for? Here is the kicker. Don't tell someone you are going to pray for them if you have no intention of praying for them. We love to say, "I will be praying for you", but then those prayers are forgotten in our busy lives. When is the last time you really asked a friend, "How are you? What's been going on with you?"

We love living in excuses. We love to tell others how busy we are and how we have no time for anything. We are busy with what we want to be busy with. What if we just simply got busy in God's work? Some how I know I will see these ladies again. When I do, I can ask them, "How are things going?" God opened a door on Friday. He made a way. He let me see that I am not the only one with troubles. I did not feel led to share the Lord with them on this day. I was led to pray for them. There is a time and place to witness. Sometimes that other person can see Jesus through us just in the words we offer. The time we give. More importantly, the heart we open up to listen as they share.

We are just always in a rush. We do everything in a rush because again we are so busy. Really? Are the things we are doing really all that important? Do they have a lasting impact? We just need to check our to do list and see how many of those to do's are for God or for ourselves. Too many times, my list is just for me. Sure, I pray God will use me, but it's according to my to do list, not His. I don't think God works in that way. He should be at the top of that list and instead of making a list, why not leave it wide open for Him to use? I can guaranty, if we gave our time to Christ we would have a lot more of it.

This day was just one of those "aha" moments for me. It brought me to where God wanted me to be. Why not be more bold? The next time we are sitting in a waiting room of any kind, why not reach out? We can start a conversation by asking if they would like a piece of gum. Once that door is open the possibilities are endless. Ask where they purchased that cute bag. Take notice of them and you will find something to begin to chat about. Let God take the lead and He will give you the words. All God needs is a willing vessel and He will open the door and give you the words. Just a smile brings out the joy in another.

"Therefore, as the elect of God, holy, and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him." Colossians 3:12-17

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law." Galatians 5:22-23

"Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ." Galatians 6:2
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