Stranger than fiction

The things you learn in a waiting room.

Yesterday I spent a considerable amount of time in a hospital waiting room. 

Hubby was having an outpatient testing procedure done, nothing major, just one of those routine tests people of a certain age are encouraged to have.

I was thankful to hear the test results were normal, which is more than I can say about some of the people in the waiting room with me.

I’m not really sure why,  but people I don’t know usually like to strike up conversations with me.  I think there must be a sign on me somewhere that says, “Talk to me because I won’t be rude to you.”   That’s why little old men ask me for help in the grocery store and really unusual people seem to want to tell me their life history.

Sometimes they tell me things I really would not care to know even if I knew them well, ya know?  I really wasn’t interested that one of the ladies, who made eye contact with me the second I stepped into that waiting area, brought along her own container of canned milk to pour into her paper cup of waiting room coffee.  But she let me know that.

I just smiled and nodded my head and told her I don’t drink coffee when she offered me some.  It’s true I detest that beverage, but even if I were a coffee drinker, I wouldn’t use her canned milk.

I had hoped to squeeze in some good reading time while I waited for hubby.  After all, I have this new book that is causing me to think radically as a believer and I haven’t had much time lately to read it.  I also brought along some brain training (crossword puzzles) that I thought I might have a chance to finish.

But my fellow waiters kept trying to draw me into their conversations.  One lady went so far as to declare immediately upon sitting in the chair nearest me, “Well, missy, you look very nice today!”  I looked up to see if she was speaking to me, yes indeed.

I flipped through my brain rolodex with the question, “Do I know this person?”  The answer was nope, of course.  Another stranger intent on pulling me into a strange dialogue.

This woman proceeded to tell me that she was standing by her decision to have gastric by-pass surgery and all her reasons for doing it.  Seriously, what do you say to a person you do not know and probably will never see again who delivers TMI (too much information) in the first five minutes of a one-sided chat?

My first thought was to warn her that complications can be difficult with that surgery, but that would prolong the conversation.   After I shoved that thought aside, I realized what I wanted to say was, “Um…could you just keep that kind of information to yourself?  I’m trying to read here.”

But of course, I am way too polite to do that.  My mama raised me to “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”  So again, I just nodded my head and smiled and let her talk…and talk…and talk.

I think the Lord must be trying to teach me yet another lesson.  (I have so many to learn!)  Without giving you too many details lest you think I am really unkind and uncaring, let’s just say that I don’t score real high on the mercy barometer.

It’s something I recognize in myself and also something I realize I need to improve.  I would never be intentionally rude to anyone, especially someone in need, but sometimes, I just want to say, “Oh buck up and get on with life, will ya?”

So I’m supposing God keeps planting smack dab in front of me those people who need to vent, those who need someone to just lend a listening ear, and those that need to rattle on (and on!) to a sounding board that doesn’t talk back.

There are a lot of things I could have said yesterday to those strangers in that strange place, but I chose to keep my mouth shut and my ears open.  I did finally manage to read an article in a magazine lying on the table beside me in between the interruptions.  And I learned some interesting facts that I want to share with you here in my blog.

But that will have to wait until tomorrow.  I’ve got some reading to catch up on and I haven’t trained my brain in several days.  I need to just take some time, stop my busy-ness, and listen while the Lord teaches me the lessons He wants me to learn.  And I’m pretty sure it has something to do with speaking less and listening more.  Oh yes, moving that mercy thing up the barometer.

“Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.” ~ Psalm 25:4-5

“My dear brothers, take note of this:  Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry.  For man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.” ~ James 1:19

©2010 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

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