Monday, April 7, 2008


laughter is the best medicine and my favorite thing to do..
I sat by Sonnie's bed and looked over her shoulder as she vivaciously read a thick Bible that has written on black marker on it's side "property of ward." I asked Sonnie what she was reading and if she had a favorite passage. She quickly turned to Psalm 27 and read aloud these words,
The LORD is my light and my salvation whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life of whom shall I be afraid? When evil men advance against me to devour my flesh, when my enemies and my foes attack me, they will stumble and fall. Though an army besiege me, my
heart will not fear; though war break out against me, even then will I be confident. One thing I ask of the LORD, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple. For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his tabernacle and set me high upon a rock. Then my head will be exalted above the enemies who surround me; at his tabernacle will I sacrifice with shouts of joy; I will sing and make music to the LORD.

It was quite humbling to hear these words spoken from a woman who comes from a war torn country.

"When evil men advance against me to devour my flesh, when my enemies and foes attack me,"

I thought of how many people in this country literally know what that feels like. I thought of my own silly complaints (why is this or that happening...why is this or that not happening..why are things so easy for them? blah, blah, blah....), or 'attacks" as I would call them, that I have moaned about to the Lord. A huge problem I have with self help/positive thinking/health and wealth doctrines are that you can't go and teach them to all the world. Try and teach a woman who has watched her husband be killed, had her baby shot off her back, and spent years running and hiding form sick minded soldiers...scared of being raped...not knowing where her next meal would come from, about the power of positive thinking, about health and wealth, and see how far you get before you feel completely stupid.

No, the faith I have seen in the Liberian people is forcibly deeper than that.

Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear; though war break out against me, even then will I be confident.

I asked Sonnie why she liked this passage; she told me it helped her in hard times. And then she smiled and joyfully laughed as she spoke of God's goodness.

My quest for crayons to supply to my row of pediatric patients led my into the throngs of A ward. And there, with bandaged legs, sat Alfred and Emmanuel.

Alfred is 14. He's like a chocolate covered potato chip: sweet and salty. When I have taken care of him I have found myself needing to be firm (he started to give the nurses orders about the temperature of his water and other important needs) and have needed to be loving (he was scared when his leg was really hurting).

I walked by his bed and had to stop and say hello. And I heard a distinct voice guiding my ready towards an explosion of tickling. I started to tickle Alfred and found he is quite ticklish. He started roaring laughter and mild protests. I loved hearing him laugh so hard. Beautiful noise pollution.

Of coarse, at this point Emmanuel was flashing me his wide white smile that whispered "I don't want you to come over and tickle me but really I do". So I listened and gave him a thorough set of tickles. He laughed just as hard. And I love laughter.
Edwin and I attempted to play memory today. He is seven and didn't really get it, so we needed up just flipping the cards over and matching them on his bed.

At the end of my shift I was sitting on a rolling, spinning chair waiting to give report. Edwin had come over and perched his little body on the chairs armrest. With a devilish smile, he proceeded to spin and move the chair, obviously trying to make my dizzy. He laughed out loud at his accomplishment of fully turning the chair. I in turn acted like I was moving so fast and was terribly afraid of spinning.

He laughed even harder.

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