Thursday, October 6, 2011

God, grace, guts.

In the fall and winter of 2008 -2009 I spent a semester in CPE where I studied and worked at a local hospital. I kept a loosely organized journal of unimpressive poems, and a recording of my emotions. What follows is from this journal with some details and names changed to protect patient identities.

First Night on Call

I can only wait quietly with my eyes held low toward a pile of books on the floor. I wait and listen quietly for a voice of comfort; I wait to hear the voice of God who is close by. As I listen I hear outside in the dark night the sound of constant rain that seems to be content with continuing for decades. I hear the sounds of tires moving across the rain soaked streets splashing water out to the sides of the road. My soul is strangely listening for the sounds of pain, the sound of sirens, and the sound of my hospital pager on my black belt.

It has only been quiet but the quiet has been a loud build up of anxiety. I wait with new eyes and new understanding of the inevitability of our world. I now have a glimpse of the pain that families endure due to tragedy on a daily bases. I have had moments of understanding some of the pain that haunts our cities. I have an opportunity to know the people that we are removed from in daily life. All these feelings come before my first full as a student chaplain.

Our life is background noise so we can avoid the reality of our own lives. We tune out our connections with the world. We busy ourselves from knowing, loving, and helping because we are afraid of the reality of pain that exists in this world.

All this I nervously contemplate while I wait with my enemy and my friend the pager. The pager is my friend because it forces me to rely on God as I wait for its sounding. The hospital forces me to heal my own wounds so that I may be ready to help heal others. This pager has brought me to prayer. It is my enemy because it steals away any sense of control and power. It is my enemy because I so desperately want to sleep, but I cannot. The pager is my friend and my enemy.

The night continues and the pager stares back quietly without making a sound the entire night.

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