Walking into brokeness means a lot of brain tumors. I didn't think I could handle another brain-dead child on a ventilator, another entry to the ICU to find a new patient, to examine, to slowly realize the very peaceful looking little body with its stillness and steady heartbeat belies the truth inside his skull, which looks like this:
They have also held a series of sermons and worship at RVA. Once a year the school has an invited outside speaker, and nightly meetings. This year we heard from Eugene Cho, who pastors a church in Seattle and started an organization for justice called One Day's Wages. This has been a draught of grace, an infusion of the Gospel, a picture of God's loving purposes in our messy lives and His invitation to step into the world alongside His work. Eugene is a TCK, born in Korea and raised in America, with the kind of life experience and pain and redemption that speaks to the kids here. And to me.
One of the songs I have loved in the worship time has a line "You make beautiful things out of the dust". Last night, Eugene talked again about how God is with us in the low times when we can't see His purpose. About how He invites us to respond. He asked kids to raise their hands as we sang. I was on call, and sitting in a back corner. A girl in the row ahead raised her hand, tentatively. I watched her friend on one side go forward to pray with a teacher, and her friend on the other side jump up to hug the first friend. But she sat quietly in her chair. As we ended, I put my arm around her shoulder, and asked her name so I could pray for her. She said she didn't know any of the teachers up front well, and wasn't comfortable going ahead. I promised to pray, respecting the private holiness of her moment. But my phone was buzzing.
Scott had decided to take a 31-weeks-pregnant mom into the operating theatre. Her life was in danger from severe pre-eccplampsia. They were about to pull out this very premature baby, and I ran down the hill in the rain to be there. The theatre lights at night, the bustle, the scramble to get our equipment prepared, and then the little guy was out, limp, whimpering. But with a bit of vigorous drying he was crying. A beautiful little boy, tiny and complete. Here he is 30 minutes later, having pushed his oxygen up onto his forehead. He didn't really need it.
Beautiful things, out of dust. A shy young woman, making a spiritual commitment. A tiny baby, all 1380 grams of him (2+ pounds), kicking and complete. New life, of the soul and the body.
Redemption comes, slowly, in unlikely places. A shy student and a preterm baby. And redemption comes with cost. Late nights and missed events. Weary bodies. But it comes. Beautiful things formed out of dust. Broken places healed.