I had a very disquieting experience today. I really don’t know why it affected me the way it did. You be the judge.
I was in a hospital waiting room today. While there, I noticed a little girl, somewhere between two and three years old. She was wearing a little summer dress, and her blond hair was all in curls. She was, in a word, adorable.
She kept asking her father, “When can I see Mummy?” She wasn’t whining or being insistent in the way toddlers can be. She just wanted to know when she could see Mummy. To which her father patiently responded, “Not now. We’ll see Mummy later”.
This particular hospital is a famous orthopedic hospital, but it also has a cancer ward.
So as I walked out of the hospital, I kept wondering why the little girl’s mother was in the hospital in the first place. It might have been nothing more than knee surgery. But it’s also possible that her mother was dying of cancer.
When the little girl finally gets to see her Mummy, will it be a prelude to a happy homecoming, or will it be the last time she is ever held in her mother’s arms? Does this story end with her taking her Mummy home, or does it end with a little girl standing at a graveside, too young to understand why she will never see her Mummy again?
Somewhat to my astonishment, I found myself saying a prayer for someone I had never met, partly for the mother’s sake, but really because I wanted the little girl to be spared the pain of learning her first lesson in how cruel and unjust life can be, of how temporary life really is, at such an unfairly young age. But I will never know how this story ends.