Foggy weather, creaking trees,
the soul in eerie lab coat meets.
Kettles bubble, knife edged shriek,
Whirly-burly criss-crossed streets.
Ravens meet and take to flight,
the strange grimace of Frankenstein.
Within its life giving corridors, the Szent Janos hospital has been a source of healing, kindness and even laughter for us. Each week, we return in the midst of Lydia’s concerns to find Dr. Attila waiting with a youthful smile and a quirky turn of an English idiom. But, I have to be honest when I say that the journey through the windy roads and gothic styled architecture can be unnerving.
As we approached the medical complex today, Emily, a friend who is rather new to our Eastern Europe landscape commented, ‘I feel like we are looking at an insane asylum’ Indeed, our mental arsenal of the Gothic era finds fertile soil in the labyrinth and it’s facade. How reassuring that our outer crust is not an indicator of the core within.
In our part of the world, I find myself constantly facing this rush to judgment. In the prostitutes I passed on my way to the store yesterday, in the street beggar that masks his identity with a clown face, by the Roma couple that shared my elevator today.
God help us to side-step our fears about people; that scarily frightening world with whom we have lost touch and forgotten how to speak. God help us to re-learn the language of care and compassion that Jesus spoke with a Galilean accent. God help us to step away from safety and comfort and enter into the real world.
My sense is that where sermons fall short, the sanctuary of relationship speaks volumes.
It is a bold question, but I will ask it anyway.
Are you an integral part of the life of a person who does not share your religious background?