For the last little while, my posts have been sporadic and shallow; they recount funny moments or light-hearted events. But consider that a coping mechanism. I am trying to remind myself that there is Life in our hospital.
I want to tell everyone I encounter about my friend Little H. and the cute things he does . . . because he is an island of light in the midst of a turbulent storm. And while the pounding of the waves smoothes the rocks overtime, they first have to holdfast, remain solid, and not crumble.
Some days I choose only to feel the victories. The 20-something with a complete spinal cord injury who spent his days laying on a mat on the floor . . . who will go home being able to lift himself from his mat to a chair . . . who will be able to get himself dressed because he has discovered that he can balance himself while sitting . . . who is no longer satisfied with being absent from his society.
The 4-year-old who was too afraid to learn to hop after his leg was amputated . . . but who has not succumbed to his fears, but is, instead, inspired to move and play.
The woman with the surgical tinker-toys poking from the shattered bones in her leg, who could not breathe from the pain, yet was so determined to get out her bed, to not be limited by the weeks of healing.
But other days, most of them it seems, the pain and suffering that is before me is felt acutely and deeply within me. And I wonder if it will ever stop . . . if that day of Promise will ever come.
I sense my heart screaming out like the prophets: HOW LONG, O LORD?! HOW LONG?!
There is something about burn care that draws me in . . . the great need for the suffering to receive care . . . the opportunity to hold the hand of a patient whose life was shattered in a split second and whisper 'you are not alone . . . you may be standing in the shadow of death, but we will walk with you and bring you back to the valley of Life . . . back to the world of the Living.'
But I find, again and again, that it holds a tremendous emotional cost . . . to scrub the swollen charred face of a little girl . . . or the skinless hands of a young man.
Somedays it's just too much. And I don't understand.
HOW MUCH LONGER? HOW CAN YOUR PATIENCE-AND-KINDNESS-THAT-BRINGS-REPENTANCE HAVE SUCH GREATER ENDURANCE THAN YOUR CAPACITY FOR WATCHING SUFFERING?