I haven’t written about the hospital in a while. It’s not because it’s been a breeze. Part of me doesn’t know exactly how to put into words what happens in pediatric hospitals (or any hospitals), or what happens between a family dealing with the illness, pain, and suffering of their child and a chaplain. On most days at the hospital I feel inadequate, ill-equipped, over my head, young and inexperienced, and at a loss for words. Not all at once, and not all the time. But I don’t know that many days have gone by without feeling most if not all of those things.
But, it has been good.
A while back I wrote Hospital Snapshots #s 1-3. Here are a few more.
Snapshot 4: I walk into a crowded room, full of family, in a room in one of our intensive care units. Under normal circumstances, only two visitors are allowed at bedside at a time – a crowded room usually means a child has reached the end of life. At the center of the room, the parents hold their infant. Concentric circles of loved ones support the young family with prayers, prolonged hugs, and tears. Someone turns up a CD player’s volume. Mom, in tears, asks that everyone sing Amazing Grace for their child. With the family and with tears in my eyes, I choke out the words.
Snapshot 5: I visit a 9-year-old friend who has a bad infection along with a number of other debilitating conditions. He cannot speak. Restraints hold down his little arms so he doesn’t inadvertently harm himself. He is supported by a number of machines. During our last few visits, I’ve talked to him and played with a stuffed animal. This time we play with a little guitar – one that spins, sings, and makes animal noises. He loves it. It’s the same guitar another little friend outside the hospital, a healthy 18 month old, loves to play with. The image of these two boys – 8 years apart in age, playing with their toy guitars – burns into my mind.