Yesterday I went to bed a good hour to ninety minutes earlier than usual, and I slept hard. I was exhausted. The noteworthy thing about that is that—apart from a brisk 5km run, which is routine for me 3-4 times a week—I largely sat around doing nothing. I had things I could do, but I just couldn’t seem to motivate myself.
What I did instead is sit around waiting for a phone call that I was hoping would not come. My wife was in the hospital for a routine, safe, yet major surgery. In the US, I would have been twiddling my thumbs in the waiting room waiting for a report. But my experience in Germany—particularly the eastern part of the country—has been quite different.
They don’t want you there. They don’t even let you hang out in a waiting area. You are expected to go to work, or home. And, don’t expect a report either. That is something for the patient’s ears only. So, unless the worst happens, you know you are in the dark.
In some ways this seems inhumane. But in the German culture it fits perfectly. What you want it to stay busy and never contemplate the unexpected or the unplanned. So, when someone does have to go to a hospital, it seems natural that people would simply deliver their loved ones and wait for them to be whole again before picking them up. And waiting rooms seem too conducive to asking those pesky difficult questions no one wants to ask.
In my case, it was a good exercise in faith and trust. I had to wait far away from my wife and trust God and the doctors to keep her safe. I knew (or hoped) I wouldn’t hear anything, and simply trusted that I would be able to reach her once she came out of the surgical haze. It was a good exercise in putting my trust into action.
And it was exhausting!