The Slender Line

“Can you clean the floor by the locker rooms?” I heard a nurse ask the housekeeper. “There was blood on the bottom of someone’s shoe.”

Red shoe prints on the floor… The housekeepers wipe the evidence away with their mops, but the reality of what the red footprints mean cannot be wiped from our minds: life is fragile, at any time, even on routine, normal days. Even with incredible life-saving procedures, life is fragile.

This line between life and death is never far out of mind in a busy week at work. The world of heart surgery is full of reminders. Mild chest pain can turn into cardiac arrest. Normal sinus rhythm can become a chaotic life-ending tracing on the monitor. Routine surgical prepping and draping can turn into CPR.  It’s impossible to not think, what if this person were someone I love? 

Then, on a normal day this week, in broad daylight, just after noon on Wednesday, a local doctor (a friend of Dr. Halloran’s) was shot and killed, apparently by the family member of a patient.  The healthcare community thinks, that could have been me, and they (we) are right.

Shocking and unexpected things happen on normal, routine days, changing lives forever.

Should we live in fear?

I’ve developed a few new temptations to fear since I started dating.  I think these fears become heightened when I see tragedy around me, and think of the possibilities of what could happen.

Marnell is gone this weekend to Lancaster…just a routine trip to a church convention where he helps with recording audio.

“Come back,” I told him before he left as we stood on my porch under the stars.

We were both silent for a moment.

“We’ll let the Lord decide that,” Marnell said gently.

“You’re right,” I said. “I guess He decided this….”

“I think too He did.”

Is there any safer place than in God’s will?  Not that we will be immune from bullets or heart attacks or accidents.

But to know that God is with us no matter what happens… to know His eye sees everything… to know He stands beside us in the rubble of a world broken by people rejecting Him… this is the safest place!

And perhaps, there is something we can learn from tragedy.

“Last night, he text me ‘Good night, I love you,'” a daughter told me while her dad was in the operating room in a high risk surgery.  “He never does that!”

Without a doubt, we are all a bit like that father, each in our own way. In the routine of life, we easily forget to be grateful and kind. May we learn, even on the routine days, to spread kindness without measure!



4 thoughts on “The Slender Line”

  1. …to know He stands beside us in the rubble of a world broken by people rejecting Him…
    I love that word picture! Beautiful!

  2. Loreena Storer

    I was shocked to hear there was a shooting and an unnecessary and violent loss of a local provider.

    Not until I saw his picture and name in an article did I feel personally affected. Dr. Todd Graham became my rehab doctor when I began to heal from an accident on August 15, 2013.

    During a follow up appointment after he had asked how and what I had been doing, I told him I started taking a class the previous month. When I said I began my MSN program, he became quite animated saying, “That’s incredible! Unbelievable! That’s amazing! I don’t believe you!” Smiling and then said it again. He then asked about the program and when It would finish.

    The next few things he said were totally unexpected. “You have far exceeded anything I ever expected out of you. We are not going to schedule anything right now, but you call if you need me for anything.”

    Before he turned to walk out of the room,
    Dr. Graham said, “You are a miracle!” Then he smiled and walked down the hall. I nearly melted into the floor. I knew he did not get the chance to say that very often to his patients. God is good and full of mercy.

    The plan was to schedule an appointment to tell him I completed the program after I had finished. I had thought about scheduling this summer while I working on my final project, but decided to wait. My hesitation cost me the opportunity to experience his excitement again.

    Those words he told me that Tuesday in February 2015 become one of my strongest sources of encouragement through my program. I have read of his kindness to friends, family, patients, and the community over the past few days. Apparently, this was his character.

    “Shocking and unexpected things happen on normal, routine days, changing lives forever.”
    This is very true! If it was not for an accident and the resulting the injuries, Dr.Graham and I may not have ever met.

    I thank the Lord for my experiences and what I have learned from them. Especially, those that are shocking and life altering. At such times, God sees beyond these circumstances knowing they lay the foundation that increases our ability to recognize His grace and mercy.

    Let’s not hesitate to share His love, grace, and mercy with others. It may become a lost opportunity.

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