Day 18: Hospital
Walking down the hallway of the surgical floor, the permeating smell of antiseptic-adhesive-gauze—the smell of a Band-Aids—registered with my olfactory sense. Even now, I can recall it, a familiar smell, not altogether pleasant or repugnant, but one that makes my stomach stir.
We were there to pray with a very dear friend who underwent a daunting, extremely serious surgery. At 30 years old, an athlete her entire life, she needed to have an operation to reconstruct her hip. As I visited the hospital, twice in two days, I noticed the hospital smell. I’ve known people who can’t stand that particular odor—it brings back too many bad memories or incites too many overwhelming fears. Not for me.
I do have strong, difficult memories of hospitals and they all do seem to smell the same. But for me, I think of a hospital as a sacred shelter, a place where sick people can be held in stillness so that others who know how to care for them can do so. I feel a profound gratefulness for hospitals, for all the care we have at our disposal in this country—at least many of us.
In another hospital only a few miles from my friend, two of my daughters stood vigil with another 30-year-old woman. This one is fighting for her life. She has cancer and yesterday took a surprising and devastating turn. Her family and close friends gathered to form a circle of support, their aching, breaking hearts clasped together.
When I smell hospital, I envision holy ground. As a pastor, I have prayed many times with people in the hospital. For me, it is a place of healing and sometimes a place to walk with God and another through the valley of the shadow of death. I have no doubt that the Spirit hovers amidst the blend of medicinal smells, ministering through the prayers of those who bleed them, doing the work of healing and in some cases extricating—extricating spirits from their earthly bodies, releasing them to their eternal home.
Would you mind taking some time right now and praying with me for these two women? Pray for those you know whom are sick, perhaps in a hospital. Ask the Spirit to anoint them in the healing name of Jesus.
“Are any of you sick? You should call for the elders of the church to come and pray over you, anointing you with oil in the name of the Lord. Such a prayer offered in faith will heal the sick, and the Lord will make you well.” James 5:14, 15