I spend a lot time in hospitals, only not often as the patient. That changed Friday afternoon, though, when I woke up in time to remember being wheeled away from a basketball game with friends at the local community center - well on my way to my very first ambulance ride. Good times.
[Parenthetically, I don't remember much about the blacking out itself, but I definitely remember having a killer game going. It was joy beyond telling to be on the hardwood with friends, that familiar orange, round ball, and a soft rim.]
Back to the ambulance. The culprit seems to be some combination of dehydration and a mystery cardio-complication that will make this the first of a few hospital visits this month.
I can't say enough about the care I received throughout the day. From Jon and John, who called 911, gathered my gear, interpreted whatever garbled instructions I managed on the way out, called Bek, and followed me to the ER, to the paramedics who were as clear as they were kind, to the nurse who in our five-plus hours together became the kind of friend for which a handshake felt unsuitable, to Bek and Dad who sat with me, to the doctor and unseen others, the day became one about being sustained by the gift of friends and strangers.
Of course our lives are always contingent just to this extent. Sometimes, though, we're blessed to have all illusions to the contrary removed.
The day set these words from Evening Prayer loose in my heart throughout the long hours:
O God, your unfailing providence sustains the world we live in and the life
we live: Watch over those, both night and day, who work while others sleep,
and grant that we may never forget that our common life depends upon each
other's toil; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Watch over them, indeed, O Lord. And thank you for them.