The Hall Monitor
Updated: Nov 20, 2018
It was time. Walking that long hall with white walls and waxed tile floors in the early morning; there wasn’t much noise yet. Just the faint sound of my steps, the occasional heavy breath drawn through my nose and exiting my mouth as a sigh, and a nurse knocking on a door. “Vitals.”
Yep, it was time. Time to start talking to God again. It was going on the third day of purposively not praying or pursuing a conversation with God. I was definitely in a confused state of mind ever since the first day I woke up in that hospital room. But, to be honest, I was just plain angry. Angry with God. I mean really angry! How did this happen to me? Why? What did I do to deserve this? This kind of thing isn’t supposed to happen to someone like me. Of course, all of the typical ‘how, what, and why’ questions shrouded my mind. They consumed my every thought. And I pulled out my best weapon when in defense mode; silence.
But, this morning my defenses were starting to fail. My indivisible wall of toughness, independence, and self-righteousness started to crumble. I needed answers, but even more I needed to know He was there – that I was not alone. Even when the hall was crowded, I still felt alone. I needed to feel His presence more than ever.
Oh yea, it was time. This new chapter would start now. I was about to elope with God on a journey. One that would have lows. I mean a hella of a lot of “rock bottoms”. A journey that would reshape my being as I learned and accepted the many lessons that were packed into the trip. Of course the journey contained the in-between’s and highs. I am still here to tell you my story, aren’t I? It was time. Time to work through unresolved things from my past, to learn to forgive, and time to push through my greatest fears only He knew of. It was time to surrender – to wholly depend on God. It was time to let go of control and to fall back into an abyss of complete Trust – to walk right off the edge of that plank and not look back. It was time to fall into the deep so that I would emerge with purpose and a faith greater than a whole darn field of mustard seeds.
Man, those fluorescent lights are hard on the “just-risen” eyes in the early morning. I squinted as I started my daily walk. My path led me down the hall full of patients’ rooms, around the nurses’ station, past the sunlit window to the courtyard, right by the dining room and ending in front of the double-doors to freedom. I always slowed a bit in front of that sunlit window and took an exaggerated pause in front of the double-doors before I would turn around and do it again. The early morning was my best chance for uninterrupted alone time. There was an occasional distraction – usually a quaint greeting with a nurse or caretaker. But for the most part, it was just me and Him. There were questions, plenty of questions, but most of the time I just poured out my raw emotions -- exposing my vulnerable soul. Always hoping that I would hear Him or better yet, wishing He would just pluck me right out of that never ending dream that I couldn’t seem to wake up from. Nothing. No response, not yet.
By mid-morning I usually had a walking partner. It was usually a patient: at times it was a caretaker. I’d inch over from the center of the hallway and make room for my new companion. Many times my heart physically ached as I listened to their stories. Abuse, drugs, rape, abandonment, loneliness, unworthiness – all were common themes. There were times they would have me laughing though. Especially, the “redneck” who blamed his ex-wife for everything. There were plenty of rant sessions too. Usually about the doctors, therapists or work – throw a controlling mom in there too. Other times, we would walk in complete silence focusing limply on the step in front of us. We’d usually sit down in front of that window and gaze at the trees in the background. It is eerie how much different the outside looks when there is no unlocked door to freely walk through to get to it.
Taking a break from my walk, I headed to the recreation room. Sitting quietly so not to disturb the older gentleman who was always sleeping in there, someone from across the room asked me my name. “Darcie,” I replied in a hushed tone. “The hall monitor,” a muffled voice said. Startled, “I thought you were asleep.” He just grinned. “The hall monitor,” I repeated as images of my former nerdy middle-school stature filled my head. “Of course my nerdy adolescence would find ways to sneak into my adulthood.” He was still sitting there, eyes closed, covered in two blankets from neck to toes. I knew nothing about the man, not even his name.
“Oh, I see you,” he said in this cool, calm voice with just enough scruff to give him a masculine, collected tone. “And I hear you too. I’ve seen you walking these halls every day with a watchful eye. I’ve heard you talking with the others.” Coming from anyone else, his words might have creeped me out a little bit – you know like I faced a stalker. But not George. That was his name by the way. I really didn’t learn a lot about George, except that he was pretty darn funny – always had a quick witted response. I also learned he was an army veteran. I gathered that he had a lot of experience sleeping sitting up, probably on park benches or slumped against the side of a building. His skin was quite dark from the sun and he was always observant – a necessary defensive skill when living on the streets. My time spent with George was short lived, but forever engraved in my memory. He was still sitting there, covered in blankets with his chin resting on his chest as I walked through the double-doors to freedom.
See, God didn’t answer me directly when I pleaded with Him in the hallway. “Where are you? How did you let this happen?” The ultimate self-righteous question. I didn’t hear that still, small voice that many describe. I didn’t experience a supernatural vision or have a dream with Him in it. No response in that form. What He did give me was George. In that moment I needed to hear those words. “I hear you. I see you.” He revealed Himself in George and in others. He showed up in the faces, eyes, hearts and stories shared through His people.
With our own impatient time-clock and our very oblivious nature, we sometimes think He is asleep on the job. He never sleeps though. We are the ones asleep. So many times we seek instant gratification and are blinded by self-righteousness that we miss His gifts right in front of us. There is not a moment that passes in our life that God doesn’t see or hear you. There isn’t a moment in the past, present or future that He is oblivious to.
He knows you.
He sees you.
He hears you.
He cares for you.
He loves you.
He is with you.
You are never alone.
Right Where You Need To Be
Sometimes Lonely is right where we need to be. Maybe right where He needs us to be. To quiet the noise, so that we start seeking Him above all else.
I have read a lot of articles and listened to sermons that talk about being intentional of spending daily time with God. Sometimes God intentionally carves out time for us. We may not see or feel that good intention at the time, but then you wake up one day realizing that He spent a lot of time with you during that chapter. And then you see the beauty in the lonely.
Make Me Lonely
"Make me Lonely. 'Til You are my one desire. 'Til you are my one true love. 'Til you are my breath, my everything."
Keep Making Me by Sidewalk Prophets
Thought Provoking Words
“Look for yourself, and you will find in the long run only hatred, loneliness, despair, rage, ruin, and decay. But look for Christ and you will find Him, and with Him everything else thrown in.” -- C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity