God's stories are powerfully told in the hospital
FREE Catholic Classes
By Mary Regina Morrell
"Every human life is a story told by God." Hans Christian Anderson
Every writer needs a favorite place where they can scribble notes on napkins or complete manuscripts while the noise of living plays in the background.
Hemingway had La Closerie des Lilas, his favorite restaurant in Montparnasse, Paris. I have the Terrace Café in JFK Hospital, Edison, New Jersey.
Certainly, a smoke-filled café on the left bank of Paris, where such artistic geniuses as Pablo Picasso, William Faulkner, Salvador Dali and Dorothy Parker gathered to create and exchange ideas, cannot be compared to my little hospital café.
But for me, spending close to two months in the hospital during the past year while doctors and nurses worked to heal my son and then my husband, this flourescent and formica restaurant overlooking the hospital parking lot has provided a much appreciated place of respite with plenty of coffee, the daily newspaper and really great soup.
Simple blessings are often the most meaningful.
My fellow patrons may not have included the literary or artistic giants of our time, but their conversations - their tears, their frustration, their laughter, their resiliancy - revealed the stuff of inspirational writing.
One afternoon, when I was too tired to even write a word, I took a table near the window with my back to most of the room. Even a smile would have been too much to muster. But the noise of living crept in behind me where a very elderly dad sat eating at a small table across from his senior son.
While they ate their voices rose in anger and accusation.
"You're a useless son!"
"You're a terrible father!"
"You're a drunk!"
It went on for 30 minutes before the son stormed out and left the father holding his head in his hands. What became clear to me, in his face and beneath all the anger, was an unspoken fear - of pain and dying or, maybe, of being alone or unloved. Certainly these two men loved each other, but for some reason had just not learned how to do it well.
Theirs was a story of the human condition, taking one step toward love and two steps back in our weakness and frailty. Jesus understood this condition and shared the secret, "Love one another as I have loved you." But dying to self is not a challenge easily met.
Any stay in the hospital, as a patient or a loved one, will confirm a basic truth -- being human is not easy. We suffer physically because we are mortal, but we suffer more deeply because we love. It was these stories of love's suffering and giving and rising above fear that filled my brown stenographer's notebook every day when I visited the Terrace Café, drank my coffee and was warmed by my soup. Every visit brought new opportunities to consider what was really important in life and how I could do it all better.
Someday I may have the chance to create something meaningful with the notes I scribbled, but for now I'm just grateful for the lessons and the not so simple blessings of health for my family, good doctors, caring nurses and the unfailing support of my friends.
Above all I am grateful for the glimpses of God caught through the human stories encountered each day and the light of hope that shines through the indomitable human spirit.
Mary is the author of Angels in High Top Sneakers, a syndicated columnist and free-lance writer. She is a contributor for TrueQuest Publications, CareNotes by Abbey Press, and Momentum Mazazine.
Diocese of Metuchen
http://www.diometuchen.org NJ, US
Mary Regina Morrell - Associate Director, Office of Religious Education, 732 562.1990
story, cafe, hospital, love
More Catholic PRWire
Showing 1 - 50 of 4,717
A Recession Antidote
Monaco & The Vatican: Monaco's Grace Kelly Exhibit to Rome--A Review of Monegasque-Holy See Diplomatic History
Dna. Maria St. Catherine Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.
A Royal Betrayal: Catholic Monaco Liberalizes Abortion
Dna. Maria St.Catherine De Grace Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.
Embrace every moment as sacred time
Mary Regina Morrell
Letting go is simple wisdom with divine potential
Mary Regina Morrell
Father Lombardi's Address on Catholic Media
Pope's Words to Pontifical Latin American College
Prelate: Genetics Needs a Conscience
State Aid for Catholic Schools: Help or Hindrance?
Scorsese Planning Movie on Japanese Martyrs
2 Nuns Kidnapped in Kenya Set Free
Holy See-Israel Negotiation Moves Forward
Franchising to Evangelize
Catholics Decry Anti-Christianity in Israel
Pope and Gordon Brown Meet About Development Aid
Pontiff Backs Latin America's Continental Mission
Cardinal Warns Against Anti-Catholic Education
Three words to a deeper faith
Relections for Lent 2009
Wisdom lies beyond the surface of life
Mary Regina Morrell
World Food Program Director on Lent
Pope's Lenten Message for 2009
Keeping a Lid on Permissiveness
Glimpse of Me
The 3 stages of life
Sex and the Married Woman
A Catholic Woman Returns to the Church
Modernity & Morality
Just a Minute
Catholic identity ... triumphant reemergence!
Edging God Out
Burying a St. Joseph Statue
George Bush Speaks on Papal Visit
Sometimes moving forward means moving the canoe
Mary Regina Morrell
Easter... A Way of Life
Papal initiative...peace and harmony!
Proclaim the mysteries of the Resurrection!
Jerusalem Patriarch's Easter Message
Good Friday Sermon of Father Cantalamessa
Papal Address at the End of the Way of the Cross
Cardinal Zen's Meditations for Via Crucis
Interview With Vatican Aide on Jewish-Catholic Relations
Pope Benedict XVI On the Easter Triduum
by Catholic Online
- Eritrean Catholics dedicate Apostles' Fast to pray over clinics' closure
- Abortion is key issue for 2020 voters, new poll says
- House passes emergency border funding, Trump threatens veto
- St. Cyril of Alexandria: Saint of the Day for Thursday, June 27, 2019
- Prayer Requests Live for Wednesday, June 26th, 2019 HD Video
- Daily Reading for Saturday, June 29th, 2019 HD Video
- Daily Readings for Thursday, June 27, 2019
- Daily Reading for Friday, June 28th, 2019 HD
- Daily Reading for Thursday, June 27th, 2019 HD
- Prayer Requests Live for Tuesday, June 25th, 2019 HD
- Prayer Requests Live for Monday, June 24th, 2019 HD
Learn about Catholic world
Inform - Inspire - Ignite
Catholic Online Saints
Your saints explained
Catholic Online Prayers
Prayers for every need
Catholic Online Bible
Complete bible online
Catholic Online News
Your news Catholic eye
Today's bible reading
Products and services we offer
Catholic Online Shopping
Catholic medals, gifts & books
Advertise on Catholic Online
Your ads on catholic.org
Catholic Online Email
Email with Catholic feel
Learn the Catholic way
Catholic Online School
Free Catholic education for all
K-12 & Adult Education Classes
Support Free Education
Tax deductible support Free education
Copyright 2019 Catholic Online. All materials contained on this site, whether written, audible or visual are the exclusive property of Catholic Online and are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws, © Copyright 2019 Catholic Online. Any unauthorized use, without prior written consent of Catholic Online is strictly forbidden and prohibited.
Catholic Online is a Project of Your Catholic Voice Foundation, a Not-for-Profit Corporation. Your Catholic Voice Foundation has been granted a recognition of tax exemption under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Federal Tax Identification Number: 81-0596847. Your gift is tax-deductible as allowed by law.