Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Squeaky doors and other broken things...

I opened the squeaky door and trailed in behind David, pulling it closed behind me.  And I wondered, as I have every single time I have stepped into this orthodontist office, why they don't have the door fixed so that it doesn't squeak and would actually close on its own as it should.  David clicked his name into the computer, and we sat down on the leather sofa against the wall waiting for him to be called back.  The braces were coming off today.

He went back, and I knew I had a while to wait.  They said it would take about an hour to remove the braces and fit the retainer, so I pulled my phone out and began to piddle around.  And her voice carried across the room even though she was trying to be quiet.  She was on her phone, and her intensity permeated the atmosphere of the room.  Though I couldn't make out most of what she was saying, I could catch a phrase here or there.

No... it's my fault.
I can't make you happy.
I've tried and tried.
It's my fault.
I accept you as you are.
I just can't please you.

I tried to be inconspicuous about my attempts to eaves drop.  It was heartbreaking but fascinating, the same way I feel if I pass a wreck on the interstate or see the brightly painted lines showing where one has been.  I feel the need to know more though it's none of my business at all.

The only other person in the waiting room was a young boy, maybe my son's age or a year younger.  He had lovely blonde hair that looked kissed by the sun at the tail end of this brutal winter.  He will be a looker one day.  His narrow nose and high cheek bones along with the blonde hair will turn heads.  He sat alone in a dark brown leather chair with a sketch book in his hand.  If he had a pencil, it must have been in his pocket, because I never saw it.  The woman and boy didn't look like they belonged together in the way most moms and sons do.  She had hair as dark as the deep brown leather furniture, and his was the beachy blonde, and they looked completely unfamiliar to one another.  And so I studied them both trying to piece the scene together.

The woman's conversation continued, and I felt increasingly uncomfortable.  Why did she continue to argue over the phone?  Was it not something that could wait until a private conversation could be had?  But then I noticed her wiping tears from her eyes behind the long dark hair she was trying to use as a curtain.  And I realized that she was so broken, hurting, hopeless that she didn't even realize there was anyone else in the room.

She finally got up, walked outside the squeaky door, and I saw her face through the window.  Tired.  Weeping.  The boy never looked up or moved.  Others came in and checked into the little computer, little sets of braces going in and out to be tweeked and tightened.  I fixed myself a cup of complimentary coffee and sat back down.

The woman came back in, done with her conversation and pulled together.  She checked the screen of her phone and then pulled out her laptop and began working away at something.  One of the ladies from the back came and got her to come talk to the orthodontist about her son that was still in the chair. The woman finally addressed the blonde boy asking him to watch her stuff, so that confirmed to me that they were indeed together.  He sat down in her seat and waited until she walked back, and then he pulled up the top of the computer to see what she was typing.  He put it back down and just looked around the room never making eye contact with anyone or uttering a word.

Have you ever empathetically hurt for someone you don't even know?  I did in that moment, for the woman, for the boy, for the man at the other end of the phone call, for the family falling apart.  I have no idea what the details to their situation are and never will, but they are painful.

I can't make you happy.
I just can't please you.

Her words echo in my mind still this morning.  I have been that broken before.  Maybe our situation was not the same, the details different, but the brokenness the very same.

I'm not good enough.
I can't do anything right.

And when you begin to say them long enough, out loud or inside, you begin to believe them as utter truth.  And once the lies become truth to you, the hope seems so far away that it's untouchable.  And when hope is that far away, you can sit in a room of people and activity and never realize you're not alone.

I thought about trying to pray with her, but the opportunity just didn't present itself, and the overall situation just didn't feel right.  So I decided to pray for this woman and the blonde boy and anyone else effected by this situation.  And I can't get her off my mind, the look in her eyes and on her face.

Broken.  There are so many of us broken, each in varying degrees.  Some have superglued and patched things up and try their best to hold it all together in shape.  Some have just let it go and lie in a pile of rubble.  Some are in between those states, missing a piece here or there.  Truth is, if we are living in a sinful world, we are broken.

And, most times, all one broken spirit can do for another is pray.  And, thankfully, He intercedes for us and interprets our meager attempts at pleading for another spirit into beautiful petitions.

And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness.  For example, we don't know what God wants us to pray for.  But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words.  And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God's own will.    {Romans 8:26-27}

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