Kiss of Peace

When Corrie and I were in Bruges, Belgium we visited what is one of the oldest surviving hospitals remaining in Europe, dating back to at least 1188. This sculpture stands in the courtyard of Sint-Janshospitaal and shows two monks greeting each other with the ‘Kiss of Peace’. I was taken by this sculpture immediately. There is something about this sculpture that captures something that is shared between two people; sorrow, hope. I think of this sculpture a lot.

In Praise of Good Neighbours

When you are admitted to the hospital, you share a small space with a group of strangers, sometimes up to four people. These are intimate moments with complete strangers. Curtains do nothing to drown out the sound of weeping, bodily functions and conversations.

Twice I’ve had the opportunity to be absolutely blessed with fantastic neighbours.

Megan was my first neighbour who joined me on this path. You can’t predict when the doctor will come by with news so that you can call all your support around you to help bear the brunt of the news. So when my doctor came to tell me that the MRCP showed that it was in fact a ‘cancerous mass’ that was the source of all my liver problems, it was just me, thin curtains and three strangers. Now, I knew that a cancerous mass was very likely the issue, but to hear it confirmed took me a-back. Through my tears I saw this complete stranger come, take my hand and simply say she was sorry I had to hear that alone. That’s it. A simple act, a large impact. I got to know Megan a bit before I was discharged a few days later, but I think of her kindness a lot.

My second fantastic neighbour was Mary-Ann. We both shared a room on the 5th floor with two, *ahem*, less than ideal roommates. I won’t get into that, that’s not the focus, just suffice it to say I doubt either of us got much sleep that night. Having spent two other visits on the 3rd floor, the nurses of that ward asked me to be transferred to their care. They knew me. It made sense. Well, somebody must have liked me enough to put me in a semi-private room this time, and a couple of hours later my roommate from the 5th floor joined me.

Now, I’m no boxer, but I understand the value of having someone in your corner. It’s so nice coming back to a room where someone is rooting for you. When you make an offhanded comment about how fresh fruit is the only thing you can eat, and your roommate’s husband comes by next day with exactly what you’re craving. I don’t think a pear has ever tasted so good to me. When the doctor brings devastating news, and the tears being shed are not just yours alone.

I have a good idea why I was blessed with these great roommates, and I think sometimes it’s just that God knows when you need a guardian angel. So to my roommates who brought me much encouragement and strength, I say Thank You.