Life Lesson In The Waiting Room

Posted in Daily Living | 2 Comments

This time of year is when many parents schedule appointments for their children.
With school over until August or September, mothers schedule dentist and doctor appointments.
My youngest daughter was no different.
She had a routine checkup scheduled.

I waited for her in the waiting room.
Our doctor’s office is in the same building as an Urgent Care.
When you have an appointment with the doctor, you can pass through the other waiting room.
You can go right into the next room and go to another desk to check in.

When we opened the door, the waiting room was almost filled to capacity.
We walked past all those people and into the other section of the building.
The check in was quick.
My daughter was told to sit in a smaller waiting area until she was called.

I sat with her so we could finish a conversation we were having.
I knew that when she was called, I would go out into the crowded waiting room to wait for her.
I had two books with me.
One, I was almost finished and another I still had a few more chapters to read.

What struck me about the waiting room was not the crowd as much as the noise.
I sat with my book that was almost finished but found that it was hard to concentrate.
Young children were there with their mothers.
I noticed they did not have dancing eyes; my way of determining if a child is sick.

A large screen TV was mounted on the wall.
It was on a local news channel.
The announcers all talked in that TV anchor voice.
Story after story was more depressing than the one before.

I moved my seat so I did not have to look at the TV.
I wanted to be in a chair that would be the least distracting.
I began to read.
I found that I read the same sentence quite a few times.

I looked up.
Every single person in that waiting room was on their phone.
More than a dozen people were disengaged from each other and were in their own little world.
We were all in the same space but we were separate.

One woman was talking on her phone the entire time.
All of us in the waiting room heard everything she had to say.
Occasionally, she would speak in Spanish and then go back to English.
Her little boy did not even try to get her attention.

After she was finished her conversation, she watched a video.
The volume was quite loud.
We all heard that video as well whether we wanted to or not.
There was no apologies for the volume.

It was her choice; it was her phone.
We were the ones intruding.
A group of girls came in.
Two of them went back to the Urgent Care doctor; the other two waited in the waiting room.

The two that waited were constantly scrolling through their phones.
They were making comments about things they were seeing.
They were loud and seemed oblivious to the fact that anyone else was in the waiting room.
A man was sitting near them and actually asked them to please be a little quieter.

All they did was laugh.
They did not take his words to heart.
Most of the people sitting there were not feeling well.
That did not seem to matter to them.

The young man across from me was asleep in the chair.
A woman with a walker was with her care giver.
She was profoundly autistic.
She kept calling out and saying things that did not make sense.

The young girls laughed at her; the man told them to stop.
The young children were afraid of the woman and her noises.
The young man was still asleep across from me.
The woman was still watching a video on her phone.

No one looked at each other.
No one even seemed to recognize that other people were in the room.
We were on our own little island.
The space between us was voluminous.

It made me sad.
This is not the way it is supposed to be.
Everyone was so isolated; isolated in the same room.
It was almost as if we all had bubbles around us, which kept us from each other.

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves,  not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. (Philippians 2:3,4)

God’s Word challenges us to be other centered.
God’s Word tells us not to be selfish, vain, or conceited.
We are to value others above ourselves.
First we have to notice that someone else is even near us to be noticed.

Words were laid on my heart last week.
I could not forget them.
I had no idea what they meant.
I had no idea of how they applied to anything.

Since those words were laid on my heart, I have shared them with two people.
In each instance, the words did apply.
Each person saw the relevance of those words to their lives.
The words encouraged them.

Get off the island.

I thought of those words today in the waiting room.
Get off the island.
Stop scrolling through your phone.
Start talking to each other again.

Turn down the noise in your life.
Stop being bombarded with outside influences all the time.
Be content with silence.
Notice the other people around you.

Take time to be still.
Allow God and His Word to speak to your heart.
Practice one-anothering.
Look up.

I never dreamed that I would receive a life lesson in the waiting room.
When we left the building and went into the parking lot, I took a deep breath.
I breathed deep.
I listened.

No noise to fill the space.
Stillness so that there is room for someone else.

Get off the island.

Whispers of His Movement and Whispers in Verse books are now available in paperback and e-book!


2 Responses to Life Lesson In The Waiting Room

  1. Sue Calkins says:

    One of the things I love most about going to swim aerobics 3 times a week is talking with other people (mostly women) in the class. They are so nice, and almost all are senior citizens; we have a lot in common and share what’s going on in our lives. I’ve made a good friend there, too. I’m certain that even OUT of the pool, we would not be on cellphones all the time (if ever!) It’s sad that younger people are so much on their own island–I agree that this is not what God desires for us.

    • Gina says:

      Sue, talking face to face is so personal. How lovely to be able to see someone’s eyes as you talk to them. Perhaps we can begin to turn things around a bit.

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