Borrowed Truths


Borrowed Truths


Ben had to get out of this bed, a man could only lay on his back for so long, pain or no pain. He almost changed his mind though as he swung his feet over the edge, the knives were deep today, even with all the medication they were pumping into him. Two, maybe three days the doctor had said, “Not much we can do for you Ben, it’s pretty much eaten up your internal organs, best we can do is make you comfortable.” “You mean pump me full of drugs, tell the nurses to smile at me, and then go about your lives.” A straight-forward man does not alter who he has always been just because the end is in sight. “Sorry doc, didn’t mean to belittle you, it can’t be easy seeing all this death all the time.” They talked for another five or ten minutes as the orderlies made him as comfortable as possible in what would be the last bed he ever laid in.

His mind was almost changed for him as he stood up, dizzy was not the right word for how he felt, it was like the floor had just disappeared, like he was in a free fall with no bottom in sight. Ben reached out for something to hold onto and found that his left hand was on the bed already and his right one already had a death grip on the I.V. pole with the box on it that kept the pain killers pumping into his body. His head finally started to clear, the little light on the I.V. box blinked three times, and then the pain abated just a little. One would like to think that if they could invent products that could block pain receptors in the body, they could figure out how to make the disease that was killing him go away, but what did he know.

He gave a quick thank you to the Lord, tightened the little green string on the pants he had taken from the closet in the room, took a deep breath and attempted his first step. The nurses had been more than a little upset when they found he had exchanged the open back nursing gown for the pants, but until he could not pull his own pants up or down, he was going to wear them. “Probably only a day or two, maybe three, then I’ll finally be home, got to make the best of it.” The words echoed off the white walls covered with instruments and pictures of the outside world.

He made it a far as the doorway to the hall before the pain intensified to a point that he was not sure he could bear, but after just a couple of minutes and three more blinking lights on the monitor, he stepped into the hallway. Good, no nurses, he knew they meant well, but no man that can move is much good at just sitting around, and he could tell the general mentality of most of them, the last two days each one of them had made sure that the television remote was close at hand, as if the world and its ongoing continuous problems or the inane immature talk shows and sitcoms could cheer him up. One of them had finally found a Bible in a basically unused area of the fourth floor of the hospital and brought it to him, and it had become, as it had been for over forty years now, a blessing to him.

“Why not, what are they going to do, kick you out?” The thought came at the same time his feet started moving toward the elevator, and Ben knew the Holy Spirit well enough to know when he was being prompted to do something. The doors closed behind him and he gratefully leaned on the chrome metal bar inside the elevator, taking another deep breath, hoping the three green lights would blink again soon, thankful that the medication did not befuddle his mind too much. “Pick a button Lord.” As if on cue the fifth floor light came on, not surprising to Ben, he had witnessed his fair share of what people liked to call miracles, and very little that the Lord did anymore surprised him, his job was to serve, to obey, to be led, so when the door opened and the young man and his sobbing wife slipped inside, Ben stepped out.

Bright colors, images of clowns and unicorns painted on the walls, a happy looking place that Ben immediately knew was filled with utter sadness and unbearable grief. The children’s cancer ward, a place where small children came to die, while the old folks like him did so three floors down. “This is going to be tough Lord, please, lead my steps, we are all your children, but these little ones, they are so precious to you, guard my mouth.”

Just a few steps down the hallway he looked left into a room that was filled with toys and games, a television screen with the sound turned down very low was showing a rerun of an old children’s movie, a little orange and blue fish swimming on the screen. “Hello, my name is Ben, can I sit in this big person chair here for a minute and rest please?” The little bald-headed girl with the pink bow on her head looked up at him for a moment in hesitation, and then said, “Yes, would you like to put some blocks together with me?” “Well. If you put them up here on the table I will, I’m not very good at sitting on the floor right now, what’s your name, I’m Ben.”

Emily and Ben made a little house, then tried to make a bigger one, but it fell over as they both laughed, Ben happy to see those three lights blink again, that laughter really hurt. As they started to make another project, Ben asked her if she would like to hear a story about a man named Jesus.

Two days later a pain went through Ben’s body unlike anything he ever thought possible, intense was not a sufficient word to describe it, and then it was quiet, except for the birds singing, the bright blue sky was almost blinding, he looked to his left and saw a very pretty blonde haired little girl who said to him, “I thought you would never get here, Ben, I’ve been waiting forever.”

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