I saw her from a distance carrying what appeared to be a clear trash bag. She stepped inside the elevator just a few steps ahead of me. I looked more closely at the garbage bag and saw that she had partially filled it with clothes.
Then I looked at her face. Her eyes were red, and she was fighting tears. She lifted a shaking hand and punched a 3. I reached out and touched the 6, and the elevator doors closed.
She was thin and pale and not very old. If I had to guess, I'd say somewhere in her 20's. There were just two of us on the elevator, but she didn't make eye contact. She leaned heavily against the wall and looked down at the floor. Her whole demeanor said, "Don't talk to me." The second the elevator doors opened, she practically ran out, and when she turned right, well, I knew where she was going.
You see, the 3rd floor to the right is ICU. That's where we — my husband Bill had Covid-19 — were when we arrived back in January.
I'm sitting next to Bill (who is sound asleep and improving) in a dark hospital room on the 6th floor, and I can't stop thinking about the girl on the elevator. If I could talk to her, I would say, "You aren't alone!"
I know you feel like you are, but there is a God in heaven watching over you. I hope you know Him.
Lean on Him.
Pray to Him.
There is no one you will ever need in your life as much as you need God.
Don't. You. Give. Up!
I don't care what the doctors, nurses, well-meaning friends, and neighbors say. If they tell you there is no hope, they are wrong. Only God knows what lies ahead. He may say "No." He may say, "Not yet." But He may say, "Yes." Keep hoping and praying even when you are so tired and discouraged that you want to give up.
Don't. You. Give. Up!
And, ask everyone you know to pray.
The Bible says the prayers of a righteous man or woman "availeth much" (James 5:16 KJV). Find your prayer warriors and let them lift you and your loved one up to God. You will feel their prayers, and it will comfort you in a way you have never felt before.
Lean on friends and neighbors.
The world is full of good people who want to help. Let them. When you are in the midst of a crisis, it's okay to say, "I need help."
Take one day at a time.
My grandma would say, "Don't borrow trouble." I know the "what if's" are scary but don't let them overwhelm you. When it's really, really hard, take it hour-by-hour or minute-by-minute.
I wish I could have hugged the girl on the elevator. She sure looked like she could use a hug. That's another bad thing about Covid. It has stolen our hugs and replaced them with fist bumps — which, in my opinion, fall far short of conveying the emotion that comes from having someone's arms wrapped around you.
I will be praying for the girl on the elevator.... even a pandemic can't stop our prayers. In fact, it probably increases their frequency and their power. I know I've spent more time in prayer and thinking about the verse, "Be still and know that I am God" (Psalm 46:10).
Won't you say a prayer for her, too? And for all those like her who are scared and fighting tears.
They need you, and so do I.