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Sunday, November 20, 2016

Lab and Diagnostics


Sitting on those thick stretched-vinyl chairs--
The ones that countless wipes of antiseptic can’t fade--
Holding numbered paper slips, we waited;
and felt a small echo of winning when our number projected overhead.
We won a new place of waiting:
A tiny cubicle with a thin curtain;
A place to shed clothes, don a gown and for some of us a pair of socks designed by Dr. Suess.
A place to flip that one magazine … and wait.
But, now no longer just a number,
In this inner sanctum of waiting we heard our name called.
And we met the machine;
The Wizard behind the curtain in this weird land of OZ.

There is no fooling that wizard;
No revisionist medical history, no stretching blood sugar scores and loose conversational supposes, ‘My doctor thought it looked fine …’
Merciless, penetrating vision.
But single vision none-the-less. For even the giants among the machine folk—the CT and MRI –see only the yes-no of physical stuff; a hard shadow frozen in time.
The winds of energy, hope, grief and joy stirring these molecules of matter are invisible to machine-eyes,
Yet we are aware of how they blow, settling in the soul of our center-heart.
Sometimes these winds whip with chaotic frenzy and scatter our bones into a rattling, painful frenzy.
Sometimes zephyrs of summer or a fragrant fall blow bones to dance in gratitude, appreciation for the gentle sunshine.
But this wizard, unlike the gentle soul in Oz with a bag of clock-hearts and honorary degrees,
Peers past meaning, past purpose, past soul into the grit of molecules;
A sand sculpture oblivious to the tide of energy surrounding it.
But we are more than the etching of our bones;
More than the lace of hydrogen formed in an ice-tide preserved in a digital file.
The scan of a larynx never shows the singing voice darting like a hummingbird to the nectar of the joyful soul.
The real wizard behind the curtain is the person dressed in scrubs who sees past the cornea of the patient in the gown;
Who connects, soul-to-soul, stirring winds of humanity, laughter, compassion;
Who sees in the dark shadows of an ultrasound, not a menopausal uterus, but the sacred space of Creation.
This is the deeper magic in the room of the machine.
Our heart recognizes and rejoices,
And our minds, dressed in thanksgiving, embrace the kindness of strangers.


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