The Window at Room 417

August 18, 2020

When was the last time you felt alone? I mean, really alone. Maybe you’ve just moved to a new place and community has been impossible to find, or you’re struggling with depression and having a hard time bouncing back up from those extreme lows. Maybe you feel alone in your marriage or alone in a battle with sin that you can’t seem to shake. In our loneliness, God promises his nearness(Psalm 34:18). 

Meet Barb. Barb has a story of how God met her in a lonely place. It begins with her finding herself isolated in an inpatient facility after testing positive for COVID-19. 

Barb was staying in a COVID-unit, surrounded by four grey walls with lighting that’s either way too dim or way too bright. Often these rooms have static beeps from various medical devices in the background, some of which are strapped onto the patient. It’s always cold, and no amount of scratchy, hospital blankets can keep a person warm. 

Upon hearing that Barb was in the hospital, several Orangewood members made a plan to visit her. Seeing that she was in isolation, visiting her would be tricky. It was quickly discovered that Barb’s room was on the first floor and had a window. This sparked the idea that, maybe, a group could stop by and encourage her during her stay. 

Dawn Bradley, Chuck Berry, the Brown family, Beth Bartlett, Vickie Hutson, Brandy Nicks, and Jennie Campa met up at 10am on a Monday in the parking lot of Life Care Center. Barb’s window was five rooms to the left of the far side of the building. 

The group hopped out of their cars, stepped over some shrubs and muddied dirt, and made their way closer to Barb’s window. Dawn pulled her phone out and dialed the number for Room 417, so they’d have a way to talk with her. After introductions, Dawn asked Barb if she would like to hear a scripture reading. Brandy suggested Psalm 16, so Beth opened her pocket Bible and read, “Keep me safe, my God, for in you I take refuge…”

 

The group followed the psalm reading with a song. For several minutes, all that could be heard in the parking lot was the collective voices of God’s people singing Amazing Grace. Barb’s smile could be seen through the window, past everyone’s reflections from the outside. 

 

Chuck closed their visit with prayer. Each person passed the phone around and had the opportunity to pray over her before saying their goodbyes. 

The visit to the window at Room 417 is a real-life, everyday reflection of the gospel. From the beginning, God saw the desperate and needy places we were in and committed himself to our rescue(Genesis 3:15; Psalm 18). Jesus came to our window at our sickbed and has promised to heal us from our sicknesses(Luke 5:31). As we wait for him to make all things new, he promises his nearness, and one day, there will be no window that can keep us from his presence.