The halls were deserted.
The elevators were barricaded.
The guts of UCLA Medical Center had been transplanted to the new Ronald Reagan Hospital down the block.
Echoes of loud voices ricocheted through my mind as I walked through the long, lonely halls to the one wing still occupied: The Neuro-Rehab unit on the main floor.
Those of us with loved ones there felt hollow and abandoned, like the obsolete shell of a building through which we wandered.
Hope seemed as faded as the drab, scuffed paint on the walls.
But one man refused to let go of the vision.
He refused to let us forget.
Intent on his mission, he snuck back in like a thief. Ignoring the warning signs, he took the elevator as far as it would go; then he took the fire escape stairs up to the 7th floor.
Back to the dead and darkened ICU.
Back to the place where life and death were separated by nothing more than a flimsy curtain.
Back to where the miracles happened.
He reconstructed the reality:
The actor’s “Head Shot” that the patient’s mother had taped to the wall behind the bed…a reminder that this was still a person, not a thing.
The fuzzy old blanket dear friends brought to the hospital as a hug-surrogate that had remained a constant comforter in spite of sanitary concerns. Green, the color of life.
And, most importantly, tangible symbols of intangible promises: a mound of heavy stones representing memorial stones from the Old Covenant.
A stone for every miracle.
Alone in the silent room that once buzzed and blared the blinking signals of survival, our friend painstakingly constructed a pyramid of hope upon that bed of pain and horror.
So we would never forget what we witnessed there.
The bed now lies as empty as the tomb from which the largest stone was rolled away.
Although we have many, many miles to go before we sleep,
Thus far has the Lord brought us…
And He will bring us safely Home.