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The Lady Behind the Curtain  

As I write this, I am sitting in a hospital where my wife is recovering from surgery.  A mere curtain separates me from a conversation between the lady in bed #2 and those trying to give her the care she needs. 

“Do you have any children?” the team asks.

“Two grown sons.”


“Do they live in the area?” the team inquires further.

“I don't know” is the woman's reply.


“You don't know where they live?”



“When was the last time you saw them?”

“About a year ago.”


“Did you have a falling out?”

“Our family's always fallin' out” comes the lady's sad reply.


“How often do you drink?”

“Every day.”


“How much?”

“Almost a gallon of vodka.”


“How long?”

“Thirty years.  No.  Wait.  I've only been on vodka for 15 years.”


“Do you use drugs?”

“No.  Yes. Only on weekends.  With my boyfriend.”


“Have you been admitted previously to a psychiatric unit?”

“A lot.”


The lady moans constantly and cries out violently in her dreams (or are they withdrawal tremors?). She is nauseous and calls over to my wife, who is on the other side of the curtain, recovering from kidney surgery.

A friend's text suggests that Christ would have us show this woman His love. But how do you love someone on the other side of a curtain?  What would Jesus think or say or do?

The woman throws up, and I assure her I will summon a nurse.  She thanks me. Maybe that's the first step.

Twenty minutes pass and the lady mentions an AA Bible on her chair.  I get up the boldness to read to her from John 3, explaining and extending Jesus' invitation to be born again. Her answer is confusing and morphs back into her drinking problems. 

Honestly, I am grateful I am not her.  Yet even as pride seeps in, I am reminded that this woman's ultimate problem—and mine—are both spelled the same: S-I-N.

I’m still wondering—as should we all—how do I reach out to the person behind the curtain?


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Jon GaugerJon Gauger

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