Finding Faith: The divine became apparent in this waiting room

"The Holy Spirit had briefly slipped into the room, and then just as quickly slipped back through the gauzy boundary that separates our daily lives from the holy kingdom."

Devlyn Brooks 2021
Devlyn Brooks
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On rare occasions, if we are living in the present and open to wonder, we witness the thin veil existing between the divine and the earthly lifted, allowing us a glimpse of something mystical.

I give credit to the Holy Spirit for those moments; maybe you have a different name for them. Regardless, they’re all interwoven into one, big fabric of creation designed by the Creator.

I recently was sitting in the lobby of a cancer center. My mom was taking her radiation treatment, while I waited to attend her post-treatment doctor’s appointments with her and drive her home. I was multitasking, participating on a work call, wireless buds stuffed in my ears.

That’s when three people came walking slowly through the door on the opposite side of the lobby, where the exam rooms are. One lady wore a cotton mask over her mouth and nose, and a tube protruded from her throat. A second woman’s eyes were ringed bright red and were moist; she’d been crying for some time. A stoic man joined them.

The three of them milled about in front of the “Honor Wall,” a place where the hospital’s employees who give donations to the cancer center are honored. Next to that display hangs a brass bell a little smaller than a basketball. Soon, several of the cancer center’s radiation staff approached them, one of them holding a paper certificate in hand.


My mind finally clicked into gear: The woman with the mask; her last radiation treatment. She was getting to ring the bell! Her loved ones beside her obviously moved by the holy moment.

My coworkers on the other end of the phone line were bewildered as they heard it all unfold, the clanging bell, the joyful well wishes. But they were left in the dark as they couldn’t see what was happening. I was mesmerized, speechless. Not that it mattered; I didn’t have the words to describe the moment to them. Nor would it have even been possible. It was a holy moment, after all, and how do you even begin to describe the divine?

Days later, the memory is crystal clear. Only a few of us were present to witness the veil between the divine and the earthly realm part, just briefly. Then the moment was over. The three made their way out of the lobby, the cancer survivor with her certificate in hand, her loved one continuing to cry, and the stoic man.

Just then, my mom came back from her radiation treatment. We headed to meet her doctor.

The Holy Spirit had briefly slipped into the room, and then just as quickly slipped back through the gauzy boundary that separates our daily lives from the holy kingdom.

These moments happen more often than we realize if only we are living in the present to witness them. When was the last time you witnessed the Holy Spirit at work?

"Church worship now competes with everything from professional sports to kids activities to household chores. ... we can either have a frank conversation about what church can be, or we can continue to watch the pews empty in cherished houses of worship across the country."

Related Topics: FAITH
Opinion by Devlyn Brooks
Devlyn Brooks is an ordained pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and serves Faith Lutheran Church in Wolverton, Minn. He also works for Forum Communications Co. He can be reached at for comments and story ideas.
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