Fair With Occasional Clouds
It’s a wonderful thing when a doctor holds your hand and has tears in her eyes when she tells you the bad news you already know
By Chaplain David Rapp
St. Anthony Hospital
It was lunchtime. I had just filled my coffee cup and was pressing the plastic lid onto it when an elderly man approached the coffee pot in our busy hospital café. I greeted him with a smile and genuine. “How are you, Sir?”
He answered with one of the polite metaphors typical of his generation: “Fair – with occasional clouds.”
He kept his head down, as if he was pondering something, while his coffee cup was filling. When the cup was full, he looked up at me. That was when I saw the clouds. A raindrop of a tear formed in the corner of his eye.
He said, “My wife has been sick for quite a while. I just came from taking her to the clinic across the way.”
He paused, and had a look of remembered comfort. “It’s a wonderful thing when a doctor holds your hand and has tears in her eyes when she tells you the bad news your already know.”
There was a raindrop in my eye, too. We stood together under the cloud, waiting a few moments for it to pass.
“And Jesus wept” at the coffee pot, and nobody thought it was odd.