Have you ever been in a hospital waiting room?
The air can feel thick and suffocating, that hospital smell clinging to you.
People pace or try to sleep or work or talk too loudly on the phone.
Legs twitching.  Drinking mediocre coffee at best.
Jumping out of their skin every time a door opens or the announcements come on.
I witnessed all of this as a hospital chaplain, and sat with many families.

When my own father had a serious surgery we kissed him goodbye and went to eat breakfast.  Time moved so slowly in that hospital cafeteria.  An announcement came on that his family should come to the surgery waiting room desk immediately.

We panicked.

My mother commanded us to throw the rest of our food out.  My sister and I didn’t hesitate.  In throwing out the rest of my food, I got ketchup all over my hand.  It looked like blood.

The kind woman at the desk told us that his surgery was starting a little later than planned.  Nothing to worry about, but they wanted to let us know.

“What happened to your hand?”

“It’s ketchup, not blood.”

“He’ll be all right.  We’ll be all right.”

The waiting is excruciating.


On Holy Saturday the women waited, believing Jesus to be dead.  Though yearning to anoint his body and give him some dignity in death that he had not received in his dying.

We wait.