In my new role as program coordinator of the Teens Living with Cancer program at Melissa's Living Legacy, I spend a fair amount of time in the hospital. It's a place I've been a lot before, but in years past the purpose was different.
In the past, I can't say I ever saw the hospital for anything other than what it was to me in dire life situations: an inconvenience, a frustration and a place of limbo between old life and the new life I was reaching toward, but just barely touching. But lately, I've experienced some rather joyful moments that are easing my transition and my thinking out of the impression left by the past.
Yesterday I was giving a hug to a friend I saw in the lobby. Simply a 'good to see you' greeting. We pulled away and began to speak for a moment when I realized there was someone below me- about three or four feet below me, to be precise. Bundled in a pink winter parka, was a tiny girl of about two with outstretched arms. Suddenly her dad was closely on her heels.
She had seen my hug...and broken away from him to wait for hers.
Tears came to my eyes and I bent down to hug her...It was the most precious moment. That's what I love about children. They remind you of the most basic truths. A hug is an important thing. The feeling of sharing another person's energy is needed. And at that moment she decided she needed it.
Hospitals, with all the difficult life experiences that melt together inside, are mysterious places. Strangers converge in the lobby...cross paths with one another...and occasionally make eye contact. Though one's stride may carry difficulty, the weight of uncertainty or the joy of a new life, it is an experience locked and unshared with their passersby.
Both intimate and anonymous are the hallways of a hospital.
But here was one little girl who broke through that wall of void.
Lesson learned- Hug someone today.