my quiet ER

I was working night shift. It was one of those rare nights when everything was utterly still. Even the godless felt the quiet was sacred, and no utterance of “it’s so quiet” or “hey isn’t this great?” is allowed, lest it be snatched from our bosoms by the supernatural powers that gave it.

It is not just any night shift, it’s a university hospital ER. Most nights are blazing with the fire of human need and impatience, with rivers of stress, chaos, and crisis wounding all the souls therein.

We are living in the tranquil still that God alone in his massive hands can bring forth. None of us takes it for granted. One is doing shopping on amazon. One is simply breathing. I am doing what has become a cathedral of pleasure for me.

I keurig a cup of coffee, always seeing if any nurse friends need to caf-up beforehand, and proceed to the quietest part of our three-sky-rise facility. I pick a classic jazz album – usually something by Coltrane, grab my kindle and seriously reflect back the relief of it all back toward my God and King.

It is still. So very still, that I can enjoy my thoughts, can feel like life is worth the clamor of humans who are in desperate need and you are the only one who can help them. It turns then from the heaviest of all weights to a reminder of how privileged a role this is. To speak comfort to someone who is about to die, or who has just lost a friend, mother, or partner.

It is a privilege to be the hand of God’s justice against abusers of the disabled, of helpless children, and of the elderly. The one whose legal role is to make that call to the Department of Children and Families, that is no burden but a privilege.

It is a privilege to find the family of one who was in a traumatic car wreck, to find transportation for the one who needs to back to their Skilled Nursing Facility, or to a psychiatric hospital so they can keep from harming themselves. It is even a privilege to pay for the multi-hundred dollar cab ride back to the hospital that transferred someone here when we had no intention of admitting them from our ER.

But when you are swept away in a river of these things. With no context of why you are there and why a thousand thousands need you now. It is easy to forget.

It’s improbable stillness, a jazz album, and cheep coffee that empower this realization. Most of all its a God who puts a face on this good providence for me to thank him that makes this moment beyond the natural.

God in Christ be praised.