Three times a week they gather.
They wait nervously until each name is called.
Called to go back and get punctured by two needles that are so large, you can see down the shaft.
In that room, they talk.
They sleep from exhaustion, but mostly to block out the pain.
They watch each other.
They watch each other wince with each poke of the needle.
They watch each other cramp up from dehydration.
They watch as the paramedics come and take one away.
Two days later, the empty chair might as well have a neon sign above it.
The empty chair glares at them.
"You're next," it whispers to them.
Another chair will be empty next week.
Although it is cause of much celebration on our part, I can't imagine how the empty chair will affect those left behind.
Those who have no private insurance and no means to pay for a transplant.
Those who have been deemed "too old" for a transplant.
Those who have other health issues and are not "healthy" enough for a transplant.
Those who look forward to seeing Joe and feeding off his encouraging words.
Who will smile at them now?
Who will encourage them?
Although I don't wish Joe to go back to dialysis, I pray that someone will visit and bring sunshine to their lives.
Someone will share Jesus' light.
Share true hope.
"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord. "Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.: Jeremiah 29:11