Magazine article Anglican Journal

The Tent

Magazine article Anglican Journal

The Tent

Article excerpt

"For now we see in a mirror, dimly."

--Paul's first letter to the Corinthians, (13:12)

WHENEVER I hear this passage, I am transported back to my childhood.

You see, when I was a child I was often sick. I spent many weeks off school and I remember many, many nights in the hospital.

I couldn't breathe well.

I remember the first time I was left alone by my parents. They had refused to leave the hospital until well after hours, my mother's face ashen as I begged them to take me home. But I had to stay.

I refused to let go of my father's handkerchief and the hand puppet my mother bought in the gift shop. I pushed these treasures into my face to try to get away from the room with its strange noises and antiseptic smell and the crying and the shadows of the nurses who slipped quietly in and out to check my IV and listen to my chest.

Once, I was in an oxygen tent for many days. It was hard to sleep. Every few hours, around the clock, the nurse clumped ice cubes into the back of the tent so that my lungs didn't dry out too much.

Everything that came to me was delivered under the plastic; everything outside the plastic was distorted and warped. …

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