Saturday, March 31, 2012

Poetry Month...Sort Of....

April is almost here!  It is one of my favorite months for a variety of reasons including, but not limited to:

  • Birthday celebrations
  • The hope of spring
  • Celebrating Christ's resurrection (usually) (as in, "usually in April," not "usually a celebration")
  • And, of course, POETRY MONTH!!!!
As you all probably know, poetry month is celebrated in full force around this blog and I don't intend to let it pass by unnoticed this year.  However, I am going to change things up a little bit.  Rather than collect a smattering of poetry from throughout the ages, there is going to be a theme.  This year's posts will be a collection of my favorite musical poetry....hymns!!

I could NOT narrow it down to 30 hymns so you're going to get two a in the morning that will focus more on repentance, surrender, hope, and our response of obedience to Christ's work on the cross and in our lives.  My prayer is that the words of these hymns will help start your day with your mind and heart turned toward Christ in a posture of surrender and humility.

Then there will be a second hymn posted in the evening.  These hymns are intended to be celebrations...praising God for who He is, for his perfect character and for the blessings of another day lived under the banner of his sufficient grace.

I am greatly looking forward to this endeavor.  The lyrics of these hymns are so rich with truth and theology.  My prayer is that each one of you would be blessed by your reading.

See you tomorrow!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Is it weird that I have to give my dog treats to reward her for coming out of her kennel???  Or is it just another instance of a pet imitating its owner?  I mean, I get it.  I don't like to get out of bed, either...

Do You See What I See?

I fill several roles at my job, one of which is quality monitoring.  I walk all over the hospital asking nurses questions and watching them work, making sure they are doing their jobs correctly.  It's kind of like a glorified hall monitor, except we don't get to wear sashes and people only say things about us behind our backs, not to our faces.

Today I found a (reluctantly) willing participant and stood quietly in the corner of the room while she administered medication.  I have a 12-page form on which I am supposed to take note of anything/everything I see.  And yet today,  I felt there were still observations that did not fit under any of the provided columns. 12 pages of observations and I still needed more columns. 

Columns like:
Evidence of the fall
  • The tube going down her throat to breathe for her
  • Her tiny little legs jerking every 2-3 minutes, evidence of aberrant signals from her seizing brain
  • The tears on her mother's cheeks
  • Alarms sounding on three different monitors, a constant reminder in the hospital that things are not how they should be
Evidence of grace
  • The provision of medicine with which we can counteract some of the destruction
  • The mother's sweet kiss on her rosy little cheek
  • The grandmother's encouraging words to her daughter
  • The strength to persevere during incredibly trying times.  After 5 years in this job it still never ceases to amaze me.
  • The construction of the family unit through which unresponsive, chronically seizing children get loved and cared for
  • The hope that a day is coming when the lame will walk, the weak will have the strength to draw their own breath and seizing children will roll their eyes out from the back of their heads and return their mothers' kisses.
Try monitoring your world sometime.  You'll be amazed by what you see.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Rosie and Jenny

She caught my attention early, that beautiful little girl whimpering under her breath, her body quaking with the chills as she wondered aloud why her mommie told her not to bring her jacket.  She tucked her wispy curls behind an ear only to have them teased away again by the ocean breeze.  Our catamaran had not even left the dock for our three-hour whale-watching tour and she was already freezing and miserable.  
Poor little honey.
I checked out the rest of the boat but I did not see anyone who looked like they might be the girl’s parent.  The boy next to her, who I assumed was her brother, was oblivious to her discomfort and the other little girl who had boarded with them was busy striking a pose in the middle of the boat, laying on her hip with her head in her hand, elbow cocked out, sporting her pink leopard-print sunglasses and looking like she was preparing for a future in Hollywood.
I turned my attention back to the whimpering girl and caught her eye.  Before I could even finish asking if she wanted to come sit in my lap, she came bounding over and curled up on top of me.  
I told her my name was Eva.  She said she was Rosie.  Then she snuggled into my arms, I held her tight and she stopped shivering.
Before long, Little Miss Hollywood (who turned out to be Rosie’s 5-year-old twin, Jenny) had joined us and began telling all sorts of fantastic stories about vacationing in Michigan, attending Hebrew school and seeing animals at the zoo.  
Rosie interrupted suddenly.  “Here comes Mommie!”
It turns out the reason we were sitting at the dock for so long was because we were waiting for Rosie and Jenny’s mom to find a parking spot and join us on the catamaran.  She had dropped the kids off at the pier so they could board and tell the captain not to leave without her.
Any fear I had of being that-creepy-stranger-on-the-boat-who’s-holding-my-kids was alleviated when the woman boarded the boat and sat down across from us without ever acknowledging me or the girls.  Honestly, it was awkward.  No eye contact, no greeting, no wondering how both of her girls ended up on my lap.  Her attention was solely focused on her one ginormous camera, her two point-and-shoots and her pair of binoculars.
We had an awesome whale-watching tour.  Early on, we came across a mother whale with her calf and they put on quite the show.  The mother did five full breaches and we stopped counting the calf’s breaches at twenty.  There were fins, flippers and whale bellies everywhere you looked.  It was amazing.
The twin’s mother took picture after picture, focusing all of her attention on the soul-less whales, never picking up on the irony that while she remained fixated on a mother whale teaching her young one how to breech and swim, I was sitting behind her teaching her young ones everything I know about whales.  She occasionally turned her attention away from the whales to yell at one of the girls, sometimes in English, usually in Russian.  Rosie was brought to tears twice, once after her mom yelled at her for not getting a picture of the whale with the point-and-shoot (let me take a moment to remind you all that she is FIVE YEARS OLD) and once for asking her mom a question causing her mom to miss getting a picture of the calf’s forty-umpteenth breech which obviously warranted another tongue lashing.
My heart ached for these precious little girls as their sweet voices softly sang the Hebrew alphabet interspersed with giggles of glee as I mispronounced every Russian word they tried to teach me.  I was saddened by the fear under which they lived, evidenced by their sighs of relief when the water they spilled on the vinyl seat went unnoticed, cautiously letting me know that Mommie would have yelled at them if she had seen them spill.  Never mind that we were on a boat and everything was wet at one point or another.
Somewhere between the laughter and the snuggles Jenny paused to ask me if we were friends.  I assured her we were.  Rosie kissed my arm, snuggled her head into the crook of my elbow and said, “I love you.”
I can’t even tell you how much I loved those beautiful girls.  I would have taken them home in a heartbeat.  But I couldn’t take them home.  I was just a stranger on a boat playing with someone else’s kids.
A stranger can only do so much.  I can’t change the atmosphere of their home.  I can’t cover every wound carved by cutting words.  I can’t protect, heal or save them.
But there is One who can.
So as I prayed that Christ would protect their tiny hearts and do a transformative work in their lives, I did what little I could.  I can’t change their lives, but there, for those three hours, I decided I could do something.  I could scratch their backs while they napped on their bellies.  I could make up games that made them giggle and squeal.  I could hug them, touch them and play with their hair.  I could tickle their tummies, lend an ear to their stories and pray over their lives.  
I could tell them they are loved.
I stepped off the boat reluctantly, knowing that my time with these precious girls was coming to an end.   My heart was just beginning to sink when I heard a sweet little voice...
“Mommie, I forgot to say goodbye to my new friend!”
I watched Rosie run toward me and caught her up in my arms.  I held on as long as I could, savoring the feeling of her little hands behind my neck and her scrawny legs wrapped tightly around my waist.  Every fiber of my being was focused on searing that moment into my memory as she told me how glad she was that we were friends.
Oddly enough, after spending a mere three hours sailing on the Pacific with them, I miss those girls.  I can still feel the weight of their little bodies on my lap.  I can still sense the intersection of my longing to be a mother and their desire to be loved.  I still pray for them.
And I still wonder which one of us walked away with the greater blessing.

Jenny and I, hanging out on the catamaran.