When we first arrived at Johns Hopkins Hospital we expected a short consultation and then a return home to await the start of a treatment plan. We left three days later. We started in the outpatient center, spent time in the Weinberg building and were assigned a hospital room in Zayed.
These buildings and many others are connected by a maze of bridges, tunnels, escalators and walkways and I spent much of the first visit wandering around looking for flowers and places to eat .
Since that visit I have walked past the Administration Building dozens of times and today I decided to stop by to visit a statue I knew was there.
It is called Christus Consolator and was donated in 1896 by William Wallace Spence. Since then countless patients and family members have visited this place for solace and inspiration.
Some leave flowers and messages. Others pause to say a prayer or rub the exposed foot for luck. I have nothing to place here today, but hope that those who were here before me did not leave in sorrow.
There are many other placards and markers installed on the walls of the hallways here. One pays tribute to the persons who served in “The Hopkins Units” during the first and second world wars.
Another is much more worn and hard to read. It tells of two sons who died within months of each other, on opposite sides of the world. One was a Marine who died during the battle to take Okinawa. His younger brother served on a bomber and was lost over the English Channel two weeks after D-Day.
Thousands of people walk by this plaque everyday and I hope that at least a few stop to read the story of sacrifice that it tells.
Legend claims that the when Christus Consolator was delivered, the doorman remarked that “Jesus came in through the front door.” Today, I came in from the back door and spent a few minutes thinking about the journey that lies ahead and the people who have been down this path before us.