There is a very good possibility you will hear this story at some point in your life, so I thought it might be best if you hear it from me.
We were living in Kentucky, where I was a young Pastor. On certain days your Mom would work all day which meant I would care for you, and carry on my normal Pastoral duties, which included hospital visits. So you would come along. You were a good conversation piece to have with me, and you always seemed to lighten the mood. So when I found out that a woman in our congregation was taking her husband in for a heart catheterization, I secured you in the car (like an astronaut preparing for flight) and headed toward the hospital.
When we arrived, I found, Linda, sitting with her family in a waiting area as they prepped her husband for the procedure. There was an entire circle of chairs, but nobody seemed to talked to her….I just assumed it was nerves. I made small talk with Linda, and we all stared at you as you slept in your car seat and made tiny bubbles with your lips.
Soon the procedure was over, and the Doctor came out to get Linda to talk with her in a consultation room. “Do you want to come too?” she asked me. “Absolutely, I’d be happy to come with you” I said enthusiastically. I jumped up and started to follow her back. “Don’t you want to bring Evan?” Linda asked, somewhat confused. “No, he’s sleeping and he’ll be okay out here with everybody.” I assured her. Linda was good people, and I had no trouble trusting the family that gathered around her in that waiting room. We sat in the room and waited for the Doctor to come back in. “Sure you don’t want to grab Evan and bring him in?” “I really don’t mind at all.” Linda said one more time. “No, really, he is good out there.”
The doctor talked about the success of the procedure and the next steps. Linda and I made our way back out to join the others in the waiting room. But this time, when she sat down, I noticed she didn’t say a word to the people gathered around her in the chairs. “Well that’s a little odd” I remember thinking to myself. “Surely she would relay some of the information to her family, give them an update on her husband”…..nothing….I also noticed that the people sitting around us didn’t ask any questions….barely seemed to care that we walked back in to the room.
Then….A strange kind of horror filled my body that day, Son.
I began to gently shake, the room started to spin as I simultaneously started to sweat and have chills. Finally, I leaned over to whisper in Linda’s ear, “Linda” I said with voice quivering. “Yes” she whispered back. “Do you….do you know….anyone in this circle?” “Nope….Not a single one” she said, shaking her head. “Do you?” she asked. “Nope, not a single one” I answered in disbelief. Then she added, “Well, I wondered why you were willing to leave Evan all by himself.”
That’s a good question. There is nothing like a quiet ride home to give you time to examine your life and your abilities to Father another human being. We got home just before your Mom did. She walked in the door and I approached her to welcome her home. “What happened?” She could read my face, a mix of embarrassment and shame. “You look beautiful honey.” I replied.
“WHAT? HAPPENED?” She said, with a bit more force. I proceeded to explain it to her, “You know how we all have those stories that sound like you’re a really irresponsible parent who leaves your child with perfect strangers you thought were relatives of a church member you were coming to see at the hospital, but then everything turns out okay and you just laugh and laugh???”…..”it’s kind of like that….”
The rest doesn’t need to be discussed in this letter.
But that’s the story of the day you made new friends at a hospital, and the day your Father was only allowed to take you out if supervised.