Friday, May 23, 2008

strategic plans

my PICU friend Ali
Hummus and pitas. yummm!
I love the Saaj!!!
Yesterday was my day off. It was also the day of a fire drill.

Fire drills are an often occurrence on the ship. It means you must stop whatever you are doing and go quietly stand outside, either under the intense African sun or the downpours of rainy season. For most, it is just a part of the workday. But as a shift worker, fire drills generally occur on my time off. Seeing that no one else on the ship goes to fire drills on Saturdays, I see no logical reason for myself to attend a fire drill on my Saturday, which happened to fall on a Thursday this week.

So, using my acquired ship life wisdom, I did strategic planning. I looked at the schedule and figured out who else would be enjoying time off at 1400 and went out for lunch.
There is a booming Lebanese-Liberian business culture here, which means Liberia enjoys some wonderful Lebanese cuisine. I am convinced that the most wonderful is found at the Saaj restaurant, so that is where we went. Their hummus and pitas are wonderful.

It's about a 1/2 mile walk from the ship to the port gate. We have a day worker who transports orthopedic patients from the ship to the gate on a golf cart. As we were walking back to the ship, with our stomachs full of hummus and chicken bread, the cart was driving towards us. I turned around to see who it was carrying and my eyes met Emmanuel's.

Emmanuel is a ten year old boy who was born with bilateral club feet. I cared for him last outreach when he had his left foot repaired and again this spring when his right foot was fixed.

You can read his story here Two Good Legs/Nursing Advance

When my eyes met Emmanuel's it was a bit of a magical moment. He was so excited and surprised to see me, that he nervously lifted his hands in front of his mouth. His eyes lit up and smile was from ear to ear. It was as if he had seen someone famous. It was amazing. It was adorable. It almost made me cry.

The cart stopped and I ran over and gave him a big hug. Lucy, his caretaker, said they had tried to call me (but were obviously unsuccessful). They told me Emmanuel will be back for another cast change June 13. However, since I am leaving before then, I had to give him a goodbye hug.

A real goodbye hug.

What a priceless moment.

As a nurse you are always investing into your patients. Caring equally for there emotional, spiritual, and physical well being. You do your best to show them that you love them.
However, I am acutely aware of the imperfections of my love. The bag attitudes of my heart. The frustrations in my head. The impatience in a busy day. They walk along side of my desire to truly learn to love people. But I find it a relief, that i don't have to muster or contrive love to give to others. It is actually impossible. The only way to show love, is to know Love, and let that Divine Love pour through my fragile state.

The best part is that God loves everyone in a measure of depth that I will never even scratch the surface of understanding. It's the way He loves me. And in that love, He is moved to care for the broken and the lost. He cares for them and is always reaching out towards them.

And He allows us to be a part of the reaching.

Sometimes we even get a pair of small ten year old arms reaching back at us.

It's really quite amazing.

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