Saturday, August 25, 2007

the joy and the pain

Today I worked a 12 hour shift. I was sadly taken out of peace ward (where all the pediatric patients are) and placed with the VVF women. I enjoy taking care of these ladies, but a pediatric nurse is a pediatric nurse, I will always prefer children over adults. There are a few kids in Peace ward that I have grown attached too. I missed them today. I am not a crier, but I was definitely holding back a few tears when I received my assignment.

But I did get to see Esther, my favorite 16 year old Liberian girl. We take the VVF patients to deck seven every afternoon to get some fresh air. Esther came along. Today I taught Esther how to spit off the side of the ship. Our translator, Sam, even joined in. It made Esther laugh.

Today I was practicing carrying things on my head again. Always a crowd pleas er amongst the Liberian patient population. I am actually becoming quite proficient. Quite the African Lady.
Esther, one of our translators, wants to teach me how to carry a baby on my back. This is to occur when she works on Tuesday. I am quite excited.

Despite my disappointment in the morning, it was a good day. A long day, but a good day. The VVF patients are really lovely.

When we were outside they sat perfectly aligned with one another and we sang songs together. They would teach me a song, then I would reciprocate. There strong African harmonies and rhythms are amazing.

Living on a hospital ship can be frustrating at times but when i stop and realize where I am and what I am apart of, my perspective is quickly corrected. Human nature lends itself fully to it's own appetites and feels acutely the smallest pain of desire. We quickly become slaves to our desires, whether they be large or small. We are ruled by our own selfishness.

However, facing the reality of extreme impoverishment that is physical, emotional, mental, spiritual, and relational, can for a moment brake such chains, if we allow ourselves to be filled with love.

A love that is patient. And kind. And envies not. And is humble. And unselfish.And not easily angered. And thinks no evil. And rejoices in truth. And bears all things. And hopes all thing. And believes all things.

Where such a love is found, joy soon will follow.

But to love is always a choice.

An excerpt from Hinds Feet on High Places

"I am afraid," she said. "I have been told that if you really love someone you give that loved one the power to hurt and pain you in a way nothing else can."
"That is true," agreed the Shepherd. "To love does mean to put yourself into the power of the loved one and to become very vulnerable to pain, and you are very Much-Afraid of pain, are you not?"

She nodded miserably and then said shamefacedly, "Yes, very much afraid of it."
"But it is so happy to love," said the Shepherd quietly. "It is happy to love even if you are not loved in return. There is pain too, certainly, but Love does not think that very significant."

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