Waiting’s soundtrack


“The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.” – Zeph. 3:17

Two days ago while I was at work, I got this phone call from my son Ben. He told me he wasn’t feeling right, as in “I’m not feeling right and I think I need to go to the ER”. In the last year, this kid has had a miserable case of H.Pylori and an ongoing battle with a hiatal hernia and GERD. He’s used to feeling lousy, but the other day was a new kind of lousy.

It turns out it was the kind of lousy that goes with a bum appendix. After waiting in the ER for 6-7 hours, they found a surgical team with some time, and they rushed Ben into the operating room at about 11 PM.

Ben’s friend Sarah had been trying to help him for the last day as he got sicker and more uncomfortable the night before he finally went to the school nurse, then a free-standing emergency clinic, and then, at their recommendation, the hospital ER. The three of us hung out in the ER waiting and waiting and waiting.

When the ER nurse suddenly announced they were bringing Ben into surgery, Bill jumped in the car and headed toward the hospital. Sarah and I sat in the sprawling surgery waiting room, chatting and leafing mindlessly through stale magazines. We suddenly heard beautiful piano music – it sounded like it could have almost been right in the room with us. We wandered around a corner, and sure enough, there was a woman seated at a baby grand cordoned off to one side in the second floor lobby area. She played for a few minutes, then wandered off.

The last couple of people in the waiting room with us trickled away until it was just Sarah and I. Though the surgery is a relatively simple procedure, it’s still surgery. The wait pushes the rest of life’s daily dramas into the wings. Center stage is the set of closed doors leading to the operating room – and the excruciatingly slow crawl of the second hand around the clock as you wait for someone in surgical scrubs to emerge from those doors with good news about your loved one.

Sarah jumped up and said, “I have to go try that piano.” I followed her, and she began to play a piece of music she’d written. And then she began to sing (did I mention she’s a music major?) – her voice was as clear as a glass of pure, fresh water – and the words were beautiful and heartbreaking and painfully true. I’d read the words to this song before, but hadn’t known until now that they’d been blended seamlessly with this aching, prayerful music. She contined to play until a security guard came by and told her to stop.

It was a gift I will remember as long as I live.

While we wait for the OR doors to open – while we wait for something to end the intermidable wait for this or that in our lives – there are these amazing God-surprises, eternity tucked into a corner of slow-moving time, placed there for us by nail-torn hands.

If only we have eyes to see and ears to hear.

About Michelle Van Loon
  • L.L. Barkat

    Told her to stop. That stood out to me. But the stopping did not diminish the gift. That stood out to me too.

  • Eric Nygren

    Yikes! I just went through the tests for some of the same things. Not fun.

    So…what is the baby grand for if not to play? That’s a pretty expensive decoration.

  • Michelle Van Loon

    Eric, I don’t know if it was the playing at midnight that was the problem, or playing in general.

    Laura, telling her to stop was all about someone’s rules, I think. We were miles from patient rooms.

  • Michelle Gregory

    How precious that God gifted you with a moment of beauty in the midst of turmoil.

    Blessings on you and your family, and on Ben’s recovery.

    Michelle G

  • Michelle Van Loon

    Thanks, Michelle!


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