Thursday, March 31, 2011
Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Monday, March 28, 2011
But tonight it's hard to remember those things, or if I do, to not feel somewhat guilty about them. Their importance recedes to trivia, and mocks the truly crucial. Because we just got the news that one of our WHM kids, Tommy Gilliam from Charlottesville via Ireland, died. I think both Scott and I felt this as a punch in the gut. Tommy was Luke's peer, also starting college this year. His parents were our college-mates. He and Luke hung out at our mission retreats. We met up with him when we visited Charlottesville. He was a great young man, faithful, polite, smart, pleasant, hard-working, Kingdom-oriented, world-aware, courageous, multi-cultural. There is nothing but a fine line of circumstance that made this their tragedy and not ours, he was on the roof of a building and slipped and fell. One false step and his life was over, no second chance, no rewind. In my nightmares I imagine this phone call, this irretrievable loss, but I know I can't even begin to touch the surface of what his parents are feeling now.
As we head into Easter, our only comfort in life and death, that Tommy and we belong body and soul to Jesus. That He has not just smoothed over death, or transformed death, but He has conquered and reversed death. The sudden, unexpected, untimely death of a vibrant 19-year-old makes that reality a lifeline to which we all cling, the sure Resurrection.
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Saturday, March 19, 2011
Wednesday, March 16, 2011
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
Sunday, March 13, 2011
Friday, March 11, 2011
Tuesday, March 08, 2011
On this day, we reaffirm the Gospel that calls out good news for the women of Sudan and Uganda and Kenya and Burundi and beyond, the hope of dried tears and justice, the comfort of real love.
On this day, we honor women like Melen Musoki, wife of the late Dr. Jonah, who three years ago this day gave birth to their only son, months after he husband had died of ebola. She labors on with her nursery and primary school which provides a head start education to many of our friends and colleagues in Nyahuka, with her five daughters all in various boarding schools, with her management of the family farm, with her tenacity to protect her children from the greed of relatives who would cash in on Dr. Jonah's compensation.
On this day, we stand humbly beside the moms in the hospital, those that hover in this grey realm of having brought life into the world but unsure how long it will last, those sleepless patient women, who gather courage in the midst of foreign beeps and screens and monitors and tubes, to touch their babies. The lady with AIDS whose rocky post-partum course dried up her breast milk, whose husband abandoned her and her older children, who labors to feed her precious baby D. The lady with what looks like metastatic ovarian cancer who is too weak to get out of bed, but requested that the staff slip her feisty little preemie P out of her incubator and wrapped in warm blankets for a glimpse today. The eighteen-year-old with cute braids and a simple smile who cares for her devastated toddler, his brain severely damaged, his face half-eaten by infection, on morphine and fluids for comfort, death inevitable but slow. The mom of Baby N who spent her 95th day in the NICU today, plugging along with feeding and growing, up to 1700 grams (3 3/4 pounds). The new mother of twins, delivered too-early, one pink and calm and perfect, the other fighting hard for her life, ribs pulling against non-compliant lungs, tiny fists batting against her oxygen tubing. All these women, every two hours, day and night, around the clock, coming in to sit by their babies' incubators and cots, to squeeze out life-sustaining breast milk and drip it through naso-gastric tubes, or to hold the larger babies and breast feed them.
On this day I remember the international team of women who have been friends and mentors and prayer warriors and encouragers. Who cooked food for our family, who planned school or taught it for my kids, who read our blog and cared as if it really matters, who planted flowers to welcome us back from furlough or sorted umpteen ages and sizes of baby clothes when I was overwhelmed, who stepped in to care for our team and kids in crisis, who listened and prayed and biked and walked with me, who showed up to work in chaos so I wasn't alone. Women from Uganda and America, and a few places in between. Nurses, teachers, counselors, missionaries, neighbors, friends. And most especially, my mother and Scott's.
On this day we ponder the wholeness of the nature of our God, expressed in the paradox of male and female, a celebratory dichotomy and an essential equality.
And lastly, on this day, we cook breakfast and sort clothes, we examine patients and xrays, we chop vegetables and sweep floors, we answer homework questions and wash dishes, because it is, after all, women's day.
Sunday, March 06, 2011
Thursday, March 03, 2011
Jack decided to invite his whole basketball team to lunch. There are ten boys on the Jr Hi "A" team, and they finished their last regular game of the season undefeated this week. I am so thankful for this natural grouping for Jack, a healthy way to spend almost every afternoon with a core of classmates. I never dreamed he'd spend his 13th birthday with a basketball team, since he just learned to play a few months ago! They came down the hill shouting and teasing, very comfortable with one another, and thanks to help from my trusty houseworker Abigail and an hour-off from my trusty paeds team, I was ready. We turned ice cream, and ate chili and corn bread, then celebrated with a chocolate cake. Noisemakers, balloons, sodas, laughter, stories. It turns out that Jack was by far the youngest, 2 boys have been 13 for a while and the rest are 14 and even 15, even though they're all a similar size, there is a wide range on the puberty issue (sometimes I try to remember why we let him be an 8th grader, but it's complicated. Should have thought harder about sports). An hour later they all bounced off the walls and into each other and back up the hill to school. It was a fun party, and the first time Jack's had such a large group of peers to celebrate with. This evening we had a family gourmet dinner (Jack does love his food), much quieter than the wildness of the junior high boys. Phone calls from Grammy, the Bundi team, and Acacia. Emails from a CSB classmate (may you live to blow a thousand candles), and absent brother Luke.
Jack at 13: still growing into his body, reckless abandon in all pursuits, intensity, messy, curling up with a book, avid fan of premier league football, affectionate, teaser, handsome, attention-seeking, anxious at times, friendly, popular, loud, sprawling, adventurous, emotional, spiritually sincere, still mostly kid with hints of the young man shining through, sharp and creative with unanswerable questions because he sees things in his own unique way, smart and artistic, unsure of himself, low frustration tolerance, a drive to win. A remarkable person, who surprises and enriches us every day. I am thankful for that day 13 years ago when I walked into Kijabe hospital with Scott as my doctor and delivered him on the very bed where my patients today were born.