Not long ago I went to visit my mother at a busy New York hospital where she was recovering from heart-valve surgery. The elevators were so crowded that I had to go down to the basement to claim a place for the trip up to the sixth-floor coronary care unit. At each floor the doors opened in front of identical signs: “No cell phones. No laptops.” At the fifth floor, the opened doors revealed a different sign: “Pediatric Intensive Care. Neonatal Intensive Care.” It was only a sign, but my heart dropped back down to the basement.
Why was this such a shock? Don’t I know that there are infants and innocents battling for their lives in every hospital around the world? Here at least they are cared for, not abandoned. What stunned me, I think, was to be reminded of what faith must contend with. The battle is in earnest: death assails us, evil stalks us, pain batters us, loss grieves us.