Writing from the Waiting Room

Posted: January 26, 2011 in Uncategorized

Today, I made a startling discovery.  I learned that writing from a hospital waiting room is almost like writing from the ocean at sunrise or a snowy mountain peak.  The grandeur of nature inspires the most profound and poetic thoughts, but  so does the view from a landscape that is emotionally stark and yet so deeply significant.

Isn’t it interesting that beauty and suffering each trigger the same creative response?

The further I walk this road, the more certain I am that my theory is true: there is a beauty in suffering that is not quite like anything else.  It’s not a noisy, audacious sort of beauty but rather a makeup off, trappings stripped, down-to-the-syrup loveliness that transcends former expectations and defies human description.  It’s secure and peaceful in ways that more traditional beauty is not.

A beautiful forest could be destroyed by a single match.

A perfect relationship can be dismantled by a single conversation.

The perfect day is always fighting the gravity of the clock.

All these things are truly wonderful,  and it’s right to enjoy them, but they do come with a hidden-yet-hovering question mark:  how much would it hurt to lose this?  Beauty in suffering, however, has no risk of ruin.  It is already reduced to the loveliest components of life; the fundamental elements of faith.

I think I’m finally beginning to believe that Paul wasn’t offering a pound of flesh when he said that his determined purpose was to intimately participate in the sufferings of Christ. He wasn’t laying down the idea of a lovely life, he was picking it up! Paul understood, and I hope that I will spend my life coming to understand, that the view from  the cross really is indescribably beautiful.  It is the definition of full joy because there is nothing left to lose and everything to gain.

“For the joy set before Him, He endured the cross.”  Hebrews 12:2

Thank You, Jesus, for bringing me to this vista today.  With beeping monitors and hurting people being wheeled past my chair, I have such a clear view of Your heart.  I would like to paint this moment on a canvas.  I would hang that painting over my couch so that everyone who sees it could behold Your beautiful ways and be free of the fear of suffering.  Instead, I will hang it in my heart and hope that they see it in my life.

If you’re suffering today, I am praying for you and believing that He will bring beauty from battle in every way.  Please leave a comment or send me an email so Steve and I can pray for you.  It is an honor to stand with you in your fight.

In Praise of the Beautiful One,


  1. Heather Hiatt Sutter says:

    Thank you for sharing that. really opened up some new understanding for me.

    Praying for you guys,

  2. Nothing left to lose, and everything to gain. I love this post for so many reasons, but mostly because it gives hope. Continuing to pray for you guys.

  3. bolovesjoe says:

    Thanks, Heather!

    Annie – I just read your Sparkle post and I am a Sparkle soul sister. That cake is my definition of perfection!

  4. kathy says:

    So we may have some darkness in our life today,but we can pick up our flashlight covered in leather and let it shine. Never leave home with out it. Blessings and favor on you and Steve today. Thank you for sharing, i always love to see or hear your words from your heart.

  5. S. Jill Wolfe says:

    This cup of suffering is the absolute last choice any of us would make of our own accord. My heart leaps at the rememberance that Jesus chose it for himself on our behalf knowing the horror of being separated from Life Itself, even for the minutes and hours it took to finish the mysterious work of resurrection. It is only His cry echoeing in my mind of “Father, if there be any other way, let this cup pass from me”…”never the less, not my will, but Yours”…Trusting in the supreme knowledge of just how good His Father was and that His suffering would not be for anything but to accomplish the ulitmate best.
    I cry out for His mercy in this fellowship of suffering, but it is what I signed up for and He is bringing about the ulitimate good. We’re all safe in who He is and the beauty of everything He produces; even if it’s through this strange process of suffering.
    I. Love. the. Stern. Family!
    Let me know how things went yesterday…


  6. nitabelles says:

    “It’s secure and peaceful in ways that more traditional beauty is not.” Those might be some of the most profound words I’ve ever heard. So true. It’s not an easy road this life we’ve been given; but it’s safe to the last breath. So long as we’ve laid ourselves in the arms of God.

    Woke up praying for you all this morning. We need to do coffee and the 45,000 imaginary chocolate calories right away. Might even eat a few of those. 😉

    Love you friend,

  7. Lisa Quinn says:

    A gentleman we know from church just lsot both of his grandsons in a car accident this past saturday.They were 9 and 12 years old and killed instantly when the car their dad was driving was broadsided. I know theiy are having trouble seeing God in all this ,and so I ask on their behalf for the strength of your prayers.
    At the same time,I am holding fast to my prayers for Steve and you and yours.

  8. bolovesjoe says:

    Oh, Lisa. Oh my. WE are ON IT! We will pray and pray for strength for that grandpa to find His peace and feel covered by His wings. Thank you for sharing (and for praying).

    Yes, Nita – calories and coffee must be consumed. Next week, Steve is gone AND it’s our 26th anniversary, so I’m planning to comfort myself in high-calorie ways. 🙂

    Jill – things went very well. Amazingly well, actually. No results til February I believe.

  9. Ann Dunagan says:

    Beautiful post, Bo. Reminds me of that old song, “He gives me beauty for ashes…” I’m thinking about you all throughout the day. Praying for you and your family.

    “GOD IS GREAT and his praise fills the earth and the heavens (and even hospital waiting rooms) and we’re living for the glory of His Name!

  10. Gail says:

    Thank you Bo,
    you always somehow bring a tear to my eye… what you say is so simple, but sometimes we make it so hard and it is right in front of us..That without faith, where we would be? I am so thankful for your words of encouragement.. I have been sending my son your posts.. (he has been struggling with anxiety the last couple of weeks.. ) He has told me that you have truly helped him have the right perspective and not his own.. so thank you.. my family and I continue to pray for you and your family … Truly do love you !!

  11. Susie Kay says:

    It is an honor to stand with you and Steve also.
    The time I have spent in the hospital is memorable in many ways, but what stands out for me are the defining moments of Caring:
    – Prayer of many
    – my daughter being there
    – friends that stood by my daughter and me
    – a touch of a hand to my forehead
    – Making sure I had ice water
    – Fresh linen
    – the unexpected back rub
    – the care put in to turning me and getting me up
    – the resident falcon and squirrel who visited outside my window
    – a room with a 180 degree view
    – a sudden thunder storm that surrounded me and showed God’s power
    This in no way completes the list of Caring, but it says a lot that caring is mostly made up of relationship. God was with me – in many ways – and He was most evident in those He sent to minister His Care to me. Prayers for you and Steve continuing….

  12. Beautifully written, as always, Bo. You are an inspiration and example of how to be transparent and hopeful in all situations. Now, you can stop making me cry! 🙂

  13. Beth Yoder says:

    Thank you Bo for the words of encouragement:) It changes our focus on how we view the world around us if we choose to see things through HIS eyes and not just our own. We love you and your family and our prayers are with you on this journey.

  14. jane williams says:

    Bo, you put in words what I haven’t been able to articulate in the last 6 years of trying… That the most holy of all holiest moments of my life– dare I say the ‘best’– was the intimate communion I shared with Jesus worshiping with every part of me, in my mother’s bedroom, at the feet of her lifeless body. Suffering wrought an indescribable peace and beauty that defies all natural understanding. When there is nothing left — He becomes Everything, He remains Everything, He. IS. Everything– and therein lies the beauty, and the ageless beckoning: “Come unto me.. all you who are weary and heavy-ladened… and I will give you peace.” …. Peace to you.

  15. Jean West says:

    Oh my gosh Bo…nothing left to say but thank you

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s