I cannot believe we are more than midway through August. I hope you are enjoying the last few weeks of summer. Time is passing rather quickly for me in Liberia. Surgeries on the Africa Mercy are in full swing with eye, VVF, and orthopedic surgeries being performed daily. Us Mercy Ships nurses have been busy. Today was my first day off in over a week. An adjustment for a girl who is use to working three days a week and does not believe in overtime. My patients are far less acute than at home, but I am investing so much more emotionally. As a nurse, I get to be the point of contact between everything Mercy Ships does and the patients we serve. It a pretty big responsibility.
All well as being a nurse, I am writing twice a month for the Nursing advance magazine, as well as monthly for the Philadelphia Inquirer. Between the nursing and writing schedule I’ve been “plenty plenty” busy. I’m a little tired.
But it‘s the best sort of tired.
Philippians 2:16 says Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain neither labored in vain.
Never before had I realized how influenced my idea of wisdom has been influenced by my western culture. This experience is teaching me to appreciate the small moments in life. To take things one day at a time. To simply run without intensely calculating the destination. My head is daily filled with about ten new master plans for my life. Following Christ is such an adventure.
Ship life is a constant dichotomy. I get sick of eating peanut butter sandwiches and then visit a hospital full of malnourished children. I feel trapped on the ship (where I am safe) but then think of the translator who told me she’s is scared to sleep in her house at night because of the violence in Monrovia. I complain about working an endless number of shifts but then walk through the streets filled with people who can‘t find jobs. I get tired of being around people (four people have interrupted me while writing this email) but then meet a VVF patient who is an outcast in her community.
There is so much tension. And it’s sustenance is entirely an matter of perspective. The joy and the pain so closely intertwined.
Tonight I hung out with one of my patients, Esther. Esther has been here for two weeks. She’s 16 and completely sassy. We have become good friends. Yesterday, she was sad when I told her I was not working this weekend. So I promised to come visit. My friend, Crystal, and I stopped at the ship shop, bought soda’s, popcorn, and chocolate and headed to the ward. I grabbed Esther. We took the elevator (which I find far to scary to ride in…but for the sake of Esther I did it) to the 7th deck over looking the sea and hung out. It was a beautiful night with a cool breeze. We talked and laughed and ate junk food. Esther thoroughly enjoyed herself. So did Crystal and I. Not the way I would usually spend a Saturday night. But I would not want it any other way. It’s a such privilege to be here.