Something remarkable happens when you are wheeled into a hospital.
Everything that was important before somehow shifts.
You measure life in breaths and beeps and counts. You look at others with gentler eyes and a softer heart. You find yourself willing to do just about anything to hear, It’s time to go home.
Life becomes frailer, somehow, bending into a place where the only thing that matters is love.
The love you left. The love that shows up. The love you hope to go back to.
Dancing in your mind as you count what comes—from friends, from family, from absolute strangers. Wheeling in unshowered and unlovely to the echo of your friend’s sweet words, I’m coming to get the baby and don’t worry, we can figure out the rest.
So then you breathe in…
Feeling the weight of one room you pass, the one where you said goodbye to a most beloved Daddy. A weight that is lifted by your baby sister, who brings laughter and chocolate because she knows the hurt this hospital brings. She knows it so well that when she says goodbye, she whispers the words he would have said.
And then you breathe out…
Praying that you can get home to find beautiful dresses for your girls to dance with another sweet Daddy. You pray to the point of silly until you realize what you want and what is are not the same. But your heart breathes easier knowing another sweet mama is enthusiastically clapping through fashion shows and fancy dresses so that your girls feel celebrated and loved and known.
And so you breathe in again…
Fighting through the tests and all the things you must do so that you can finally hear the words, You are going home. Wheeling out still unshowered and unlovely to your van where a two-year old hand grabs yours. Her hold tight and unrelenting until you pull into the garage as if to make certain you do not leave again.
And then you breathe out…
Drinking in all the ways you have been loved. In the rides given, the diapers changed, the meals offered, the prayers whispered, the fears faced and the words written. Tearing up at what another mama made with your girl, the most perfectly imperfect way to shout in the quiet, Welcome Home, Mom!
It is here, in this place, that love becomes all your heart can recognize. It goes farther, beats louder and does more than anything else ever could. Willing to stand in places that are not beautiful or lovely or comfortable or even noteworthy.
Always protecting. Always trusting. Always hoping. And always, always persevering.
So that when the noise of this world can be too much to bear, you will hear it beckon softly until the rest of it fades into one resounding truth…
Love will always come.