A Day in the Life

I watch them from the fourth floor window overlooking the courtyard. The sunlight shifts and dances as the trees blow in the soft breeze. It’s warm down there I think.

Sitting under the umbrella at the table below me is a woman knitting with multi-colored yarn in purple, pink and blue hues. What she’s knitting I can’t tell. A hat maybe. Or perhaps some sort a bag. Or maybe nothing at all, just a way to pass the time. The umbrella obscures her face, but I watch her fingers direct the needles, and I imagine the clickety-clack they must be making.

Across the way at another covered patio table are two boys playing cards. They can’t be older than twelve. They have the look of wild abandon and confidence and mirth of twelve year old boys as they laugh at each other and throw down their hands.

In the far corner on a bench sits a middle-aged woman. Her pristine auburn hair flows gently about her face. She is sharply dressed, her Coach bag resting next to her as she stares down at her phone, texting, or scrolling for news, but most likely perusing her social media accounts.

In the walkway stands a doctor in a white lab coat, her dark hair glistening in the sunlight. I can only see the top of her head as she stares down at the phone in her hands, but if I could only zoom in with my eyes I swear I could read the screen she looks at as she stands there.

On another bench further down the way sits what might be a graying father and his son. The father has his hand on the son’s back as the son leans forward and rests his face on his hands. He might be sobbing.

In the corner across from my perch I see a woman, a salty-haired woman, standing with her face to the corner, her back to the rest of the world as she talks to someone on her phone. She barely moves. She seems distant and isolated. What news is she delivering? What news is she hearing?

Finally, on a bench almost beyond my vision, there sits a red stuffed bear. It sits by itself, away from the people, but it sits properly, like a tiny well-behaved child. No one seems to have it claimed. No one seems to know it’s there. But it sits there, silently, watching the scene unfolding before it, just I watch the scene unfolding below me.

We are all in our own world, some of us more aware of our difference presences than others. But we are all together for a brief time. And I think to myself, what a day in the life of a hospital chaplain.

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