Tuesday, March 4, 2008

in process

Last week was a bit rough for our medical staff. We cared for several sick patients and had some less than positive outcomes.

I spent two nights working in the ICU and found myself again facing the moral and ethical questions that intensive care brings. Questions and dilemmas I thought I has left at home and really didn't want to think about in Africa.

I was rather excited to come here and take care of kids that talk to me. Or maybe I just wanted an excuse to play with toys and overuse my imagination.

Today we had a debriefing with our nursing staff, a time to evaluate situations which occurred and discuss the frustrations, pains, and experiences we each had. Commodore is an important aspect of being a nurse. You need to talk through your experiences and hear the perspectives of those who are going through them with you.

There's something about being at the bedside of a dying child that you only understand if you've stood beside it.

Sometimes I wish life had more answers then questions. I wish the world was black and white. I wish perspectives were universal. I wish pain wasn't a relative discussion. I wish the world was a just place. I wish we all possessed infinite wisdom.

But this is not our experienced reality. The world is a sinful place.

And there are more questions than answers. And things aren't always black and white. And people have different values and experiences and therefore different perspectives. Pain is very relevant, injustice reigns, and men are foolish.

Something is terribly wrong.

But if I had all the answers would I ever question anything? If the world was black and white would I need grace? If perspectives were universal would I ever learn to listen? If there was no pain would I ever learn to give? If there was justice would I ever pray? If I was infinitely wise would I ever need a friend?

Sin has cleared the path of love. In 1 Corinthians 13 Paul mentions all the elements of earth that are at the moment incomplete. But love was not on the list. When Christ died on the cross eternity experienced complete love. Their will never be a greater or more perfect expression. Ever.

And so, because of man's fallen nature we now experience a deeper form of Christ’s love than had we never left our perfected state. We can trust that injustice temporarily reigns for in three words, "It is finished," all injustice was swallowed in defeat. The world was saved.

The problem is that our human brains are so easily defeated. We get tripped up because the promises of heaven are not completed on earth. We think God is not loving because we still see injustice. We think that death is the enemy. We forget that this life is not reality and that our hearts were not meant for the temporal.

I re-read The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis this week. I enjoyed this passage,

'And the Saved?'

'Ah, the Saved...what happens to them is best described as the opposite of a mirage. What seemed, when they entered it, to be the vale of misery turns out, when they look back, to have been a well; and where present experience saw only salt deserts, memory truthfully records that the pools were full of water.'

'Then those people are right who say that Heaven and Hell are only states of mind?'

'Hush,' he said sternly. 'Do not blaspheme. Hell is a state of mind-ye never said a truer word. And every state of mind, left to itself, every shutting up of the creature within the dungeon of it's own mind-is, in the end, Hell. But Heaven is not a state of mind. Heaven is reality itself. All that is fully real is Heavenly. For all that can be shaken will be shaken and only the unshakable remains.'

I can't wait until the dim glass is removed and I see and understand and know as I was meant too. I can't wait until we see justice fully realized. But until then, we walk on in faith. We moan and ache and search and listen for the whisper's of that which is real.

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