I see wheelchairs everywhere…some leg-powered some arm-powered. The room is packed with people waiting expectantly for food. A few have dozed off, chin on bibs. One lady has her head on the table…seemingly lifeless. There’s not much conversation. Recorded Christmas music issues from a boom box balanced on a wooden podium in the background.
I observe two sorts of staff: indifferent and attentive…the attentive ones passing out an occasional hug to grateful residents.
The diners come in all shapes, sizes and conditions…some with their wits, some obviously without. As far as I can tell everyone except the staff is white…no blacks or Hispanics in sight.
We are joined at table 15 by Mary…impatient for her food. Soon she will be impatient to be taken back to her room complaining of back pain. I try to talk to her but she is not in the mood.
Behind us an orderly softly sings Christmas carols with each phrase in a different key.
Finally, the trays begin arriving and the lady who had her head on the table comes to life and begins doing slow-motion wheelchair wheelies.
The food is nutritious and good. I am grateful.
As lunch is consumed (not in whole but the part) the diners disappear one-by-one back into the maze of halls to find their rooms.
Is this my future? I don’t aspire to lunch or any other meal in such circumstances. Nevertheless, if Jesus tarries it is probably the lot of many of us. Maybe I’ll be the one with my head on the table. Even so, come Lord Jesus!