Warning–this blog is entirely unedited. For you grammar Nazis, don’t judge.
It is interesting how for the first time in a long while I do not start with the title of this blog. For several reasons I believe this is the case. I do not know exactly how to put my finger on the enormity of yesterday nor do I believe one event deserves the focus. Wednesday, March 16, 2016 was a day to practice saying yes to life and the results of being bold and adventurous have impacted me tremendously.
I putzed down several main streets on my Aunt’s bicycle heading in some direction, not one hundred percent sure I knew the way to my location, but feeling adventurous and fast on my two wheeled transportation. I do not know how it works when the locals gather together as I go by and say as we would in our own state dialect, “She ain’t from around here.” I was stopped by an elderly gentleman probably because I looked confused as I pulled out my phone to redirect myself to the hospital where my Uncle worked. He proceeded to speak to me in Spanish like everyone in that area understood. I jumped in and enjoyed myself and this strange, open gentleman.
I returned to navigating streets and traffic. I felt timid weaving in and out among traffic, but it was all part of the adventure. Finding a gate I locked my gate, struggling with the bike lock for some time and grumbling to myself that Vermont did not require bike locks and neither should California. If only we could trust everyone with everything we owned. Already I had learned I cannot climb trees near public trails unless I want to “be rescued.” Already I had learned that I cannot run barefoot down the dusty, dessert like trails without the public staring. Already I had learned that I am not longer in Vermont but in a place very different than my own and I liked the sense of navigating the world on my own.
Anyways, unclipping my bike helmet and loosening my damply sweaty hair, I entered the white doors of the hospital and breathed that stale air. I walked up to the front desk and asked for the local restroom. They directed me, and I proceeded to change from my shorts to a skirt for a day at work. I met the Chaplin who I would job shadow job, a leader polished and well groomed, a man whose personality matched his job like God had known from the beginning of time. We began our rounds meeting the sick, hearing their stories, and asking to pray for them.
I was struck by several patients and the wisdom, fun loving joy, and stories they shared.
One woman, whose smile seemed like that of a little girl shared with us that she thought she was a squirrel. We proceeded with the most pleasurable, fun loving conversation, and soon she decided she was a deer. Such joy and such hilarious little stories and the way she described each gave joy to many of the more somber visits we had made before.
Another young gentleman, shared enthusiastically about his excitement to go home. He told us about the superhero posters on his walls and all the other perks to going home. “If you could have any superpower in the world, what would it be?”
“Healing,” he said definitively. I stifled a gasp and turned my head.
“To not bet hurt.”
There was no selfish motivation in his desire, but it seems the hurt truly have the deepest compassion for their fellow sufferers.
I learned many things. I learned that a father desired to see his son and that today work and success is more important than family relationship as evidenced by a son who rarely visited his father in the hospital because he spent 13 hours a day working. I learned what it was like to be welcomed into the family of a dying loved one. I was told by a family member with softness in her eyes that I looked like a little girl as I stood there over the bedside of her cousin gasping for air, and it was probably true. I have seen little in this world. I have not been marred by the pain and suffering. I have led a privileged life in a small town in Vermont, and I have romped the back yard with my eight siblings with no thought that bad things happen. I have been in conversations totally ignorant about topics people my age take pleasure in discussing, and I have realized quite quickly that I do not enjoy those discussions. In a very real sense I am still a little girl who saw for the first time a person dying. I am still blossoming, but with all my heart though I feel out of place, lost, confused, and ignorant (as my cousin would call me “blonde”) I prefer to keep my life that way and allow my petals to blossom naturally in time and without force. Why grow up before it is necessary? Why force a child to grow up before his or her days of youth have been filled with happy memories and beautiful play days. It is not fair to the child. But life is not fair and that I learned very young. Here at the hospital I may be a little girl, surrounded and blinded by the white coats, walls, and words, but I chose to be there and that by itself says something about who I am and that even little girls can do what big girls do—serve.