I really wanted to lean against the wall and rest my head. But there was nothing I could touch. I didn’t want to. The world was struggling with the pandemic. They had just taken dad in for some tests, and it would be a while before he was back. What was I supposed to do as I waited? I didn’t want to look around me. It was just so chaotic. It was just frightening. To my eye, it felt like there were more dead bodies being wheeled around than the sick. Fear came surfing up. Stomach, chest, throat…I couldn’t swallow. For a moment my eyesight blurred. I was terrified for dad. He didn’t have the virus. It was his heart the doctors were worried about.
I was afraid for Maa waiting for us back home. I was afraid for my husband and my kids. I was afraid for myself. I needed to be strong. I needed to be healthy. I need to stay ok for everyone. Resisting the temptation to adjust the mask on my face, I looked in my bag for the sanitizer and sanitized my hands again. I desperately wanted a sip of water. But I was as terrified to reach inside the bag and drink water. I imagined the virus floating around everywhere.
Then, my lips found the prayers they were so used to chanting. As I began to pray, I looked around me. People’s eyes peered from behind the masks…un-shielded, naked, exposed, emotions tumbling out from the only place they could escape unhindered. Some eyes held fear, some looked dazed, some searched for meaning in the mess, some sleepless, some hopeless, some grim. All I could see was pain, suffering and death. Why wouldn’t I feel upset when all I can see is a meaningless world?
It was then that I saw the nurse. A gentleness danced in her eyes and passed on hope. I was instantly drawn to her. She went about talking to the people calmly. Her voice gentle, her posture steady and movement calm. At that moment, her eye caught mine and I could see her smile at me even though her face was covered by the mask. The next instant she moved on to speak to someone. Smiles are contagious. I found myself reflecting hers. Smiles in a hospital are a good thing. Faith in a hospital is even better.
Sharon, my friend had called me in the morning as I was about to leave for the hospital. “This is not good or bad. We don’t know what it is and that is why you are pissed,” she had told me. Standing there, waiting for Dad to come back, I could feel the truth of her words. What did I know apart from my meaningless, fearful thoughts! The world was meaningless, neither good nor bad. God, my faith, was the only thing that gave it any meaning that mattered. All that I could do was hand all thoughts to God. I returned to my prayers. Everyone around could do with some peace.
(This is a experiment that is part of my spiritual practice. If you like this, visit the Lessons of Love page for more such reads.)