So I saw the image of the Syrian boy in the ambulance last week, as many around the world did, and like them I went to work the next day. Where I met a young boy who didn’t attend his grandpa’s funeral because he is still working through losing his friend in the spring, where I learned new medical terminology, where widows’ colleagues called ahead because they want to do the proper thing when they arrive, where high emotions caused people to behave strangely, maybe badly.
This series is so depressing. Is she going to at least put a printable or something at the end? Ugh.
Yup, it gets sad sometimes, and I will admit that that week was particularly heavy. But I share this because think there are lessons to be learned about how much we filter and maybe even sterilize our human experience. Especially here in suburban North America where we enjoy predictability and peace.
Suffering is so yucky and not neat, isn’t it?
Little Omran Daqneesh is suffering and will continue to be in a crappy situation (#UOTM - Understatement Of The Month) the day after his image stops going viral. And some of us may try to educate ourselves by reading the articles and listening to reports tied to this photo/video, and then throw our hands up in the air, sigh and think oh well, what can we do?
We need to remember that there are hard things happening to people both far away and within our arms’ reach. And hopefully the people who feel a holy discontent** over what is happening in Syria will be brave and follow the calling. For me, though, I feel drawn to serve the grieving of my local community. To help ease these first steps into their new normal, maybe. And maybe increase awareness of realities that I can no longer ignore just because I seemingly don’t have a personal connection to them.
Death is real and it’s inevitable. A lot of people in their 80s and 90s come through our (back) doors. A long life, that’s awesome. It really is. But I knew at a very young age that it’s not the only scenario. My mom died a week shy of her 45th birthday. So cancer, car accidents, suicide, heart disease, stillbirths…these are the kinds of things that cross my desk every day. And it’s difficult sometimes to wrap my head and heart around them. At times I need to go days in a row just getting things done, but on my stronger days (which are more frequent now, thankfully) I can take a big exhale and feel God’s goodness even still. A lot of gratitude and empathy and learning to live well (and thus die well, whenever that happens) are developing in me because of this job.
And what is living well to me? Working on it. But I know it includes the pursuit of a healthy balance in our use of the provisions we have been blessed with, determining how much of our time, talents and wealth are intended for ourselves and how much are actually equipment for the service of others.
So can I ask you something?
Who needs you?
What is tugging your heart away from complacency?
If you could stretch yourself ever-so-slightly for somebody, somebodies, something, what would it be?
Okay, that was three questions. But I thought I’d drag you in with me as I navigate through these early stages of answering this calling. I hope you don’t mind.
** “…what wrecks the heart of someone who loves God is often the very thing God wants to use to fire them up to do something that, under normal circumstances, they would never attempt to do.” - Bill Hybels, Holy Discontent