A couple of weeks ago I stayed with my mum for a week, as my stepfather is very ill following a heart bypass operation.
My experience of being on an intensive care ward was very profound!
I was struck by the suffering on that ward.
Not so much the suffering of the patients - which I was not really witness to - but the suffering of the relatives and friends who were sitting in the waiting room.
Some were clutching the belongings of their loved ones, anxiously waiting to hear news from the medical staff. Some were almost emotionless and frozen with fear and worry, others were crying, others angry, others pacing ...
The emotions of fear, anxiety, anger, hopelessness and helplessness were clearly noticeable.
What struck me also was the desire of people to reach out to each other in that place and that situation.
Not only friends and relatives, but complete strangers too.
Small gestures - a kind word, an encouraging smile, a listening ear, offering a tissue or a drink, touching a hand or squeezing a shoulder.
I was amazed how much people managed to give, at a time when they were suffering so much themselves!
I am sure that under 'normal' circumstances many of those people would have just walked past each other.
I couldn't help but wonder that this was a miracle connected with suffering. A heightened awareness of the needs and the suffering of others around us, and a desire to help!
Despite the pain and the suffering on the ICU ward I couldn't help but find it an amazing place to be!