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Shannon Brady

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There’s a lesson from the waiting room if you listen for it

*Note: this post is part of a 20-day writing prompt 101 program I’m participating in. Today’s Prompt: “Write a post inspired by a real-world conversation. Today’s twist: include an element of foreshadowing in the beginning of your post.”

“Hi. I just got here. Probably take an hour tops, if what she told me is correct,” she whispered into her phone. She studied the other women seated around the small waiting area – purple cotton robes like hers tied at the waist, one knee resting over the other, frayed magazine in lap. Their collective silence and flat expressions revealed little.

Dear Lord, I pray
Please help me, on my way…

All heads shot up as the petite black woman broke the spell. In her fifties, perhaps, with a giant voice that belied a tiny frame – pronounced collar bones poking out from her loose robe, delicate hands pressing into her thighs as she looked skyward and continued in verse.

Give me courage, and more strength
Each day
Ohhhh, ohhhhh
I’m holding, thy hand
So determined to stand
And by thy grace…

Some went back to the mindless pages in their lap. The youngest in the room, maybe 25, gripped her pages tighter, as though a cherry torte recipe, 3 ways to apply mascara, or a new chapter on a celebrity breakup could make this whole experience go away. Just stop! Her body language was saying to the voice across the room.

In another corner, a silver-haired woman tapped her spotless white walking shoe in rhythm to the lyrics, choosing instead to participate fully in the experience unfolding before her. Something resonated, as the lines on her sun-spotted face revealing years of happy memories grew deeper. Tears rolled down into the grooves. The gospel singer caught her eye briefly, then continued, gazing skyward again:

I know that I can make it
Lord, somehow
Ohhh yes, somehow

“Listen to this!” she whispered back into her phone, before holding it out as discreetly as she could. “Yeah, not what I expected either. They haven’t called my name yet. I’ll let you know when I’m done. Promise.”

I’m gonna make it somehow
Somehow (make it somehow)
I’m gonna make it somehow
Oh Lord I’ll make it, somehow

“Ms. Jackson? We’re ready for you now…”

Lord I been carrying this old cross
All the way
Carry the cross all the way
Oh I stumble and fall
Till Jesus hear my call
And by your grace
I’ll make it somehow

It ended almost as soon as it began. Ms. Jackson rose, locked eyes with every remaining woman, and sent a blessing. May your mammogram reveal nothing. Nothing but health and vitality, And may the Lord be with you.


2 comments on “There’s a lesson from the waiting room if you listen for it

  1. Greg Weaver says:

    I really enjoyed this one too!!! Congratulations my dear!!

    Greg 267-400-0136

  2. I enjoyed this too. I like that little old lady 😊. Well written.

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