Friday, May 25, 2012

i like vespers here - just being able to relax and to think and be with people in a nonstressful, nonwork related environment

and they were asking tonight, asking the people leaving - what are you experiences, insights, what changed you??  are you worried about going back home?  any regrets?  any revolutions? 

and i thought about how I would answer those questions.

but how do you answer them? 

i don't view my time here as a "year out."  Instead, i view it as my beginning - the first sentence of a gloriously blank page - i love that about the future - anything can be written there. 

some things you write yourself - some words and sentence are formed by dreams, ambitions, thoughts, things you pushed yourself towards. 

other phrases are people you met along the way, snatches of conversation, shared smiles, a look, an exchange, a hand, a flash of color -

and still others, the dashes and commas of chance, of happenstance - all of conspires to roll out the words of the book of your life -

so I don't think i can define my experience here in profound terms - i don't think i can have a neatly wrapped answer - i don't think my time here is isolated - this year so different from the year before and the year after - i think this year is a continuation - a reality of the years of dreaming and working and planning - a steppingstone towards the next year - not valuable on its own but valuable in a sequence

and they asked me what it was like to go home, how was the "transition"

and the transition wasn't so hard as it was muddy - like being in a fog and as Justin said tonight - realizing your body is in one place but it takes a bit for the soul to catch up and live there too

i hope to one day transition beautifully between cultures and continents and climates - being able to absorb it all - discard that which does not fit - and internalize that which broadens my worldview, makes me grateful, makes me kinder, makes me better

i think its an art - and the only way to acquire the delicate balance is to just go anyway - to bravely go between home and new horizons - to step out onto the blank page - whether its an unknown homecoming or an unknown part of the world - and then to value everything that is written there

to allow others to write on the book of your life while at the same time stepping out to write your own story

there is nothing as mesmerizing as a blank page - creamy and perfect and blank -

 nothing as breathtaking as marking that page with the inky footprints out your life -

nothing as invigorating as climbing a mountain, letter by letter, and then at the top spreading your hands into the air and spinning in slow circles, looking down on the clouds and up at the sun, and finally seeing those letters you trusted as you fought your way to the top merge into sentences, and paragraphs, and finally, you see looking down, your story

i don't know what my story of Tchad will be - as all who have been here agree, it is impossible to put into words, to impart every moment in a few sentences

i don't know what it will be, but i am collecting it in fragments

and one day i will have the perspective and hindsight to view its impact as a whole

and my fragments of late have been sad ones

I do the best I can to open my heart to suffering and let it impact me on a human level - i try

but i also am imperfect at letting it go - at letting it pass through me and then take its rest somewhere else

the last week at least 1 or 2 children have died in pediatrics every day -  3 of them were on my watch, on my shift

all of them i knew

 i listened to their hearts, heard their breath rush in and out of their lungs with my stethoscope

heard the heart falter, the breaths become shallow and hoarse

having no resources at my disposal to stop it

just letting them die
just letting them die
just letting them die

i don't understand life and i don't understand death

i don't understand how a heart starts beating and I don't understand how it stops

i can understand on a scientific and intellectual level, but not on the personal level

not on the level where the skin is warm and they aren't breathing well but they are breathing and then one minute late, the heart that had beating furiously just stops and the hand that was wiggling turns limp

and then you clamp the IV so the fluid isn't flowing into a dead child and thats the moment i hate the most, taking out the IV, not knowing what to say to the parents, not knowing how to comfort them so just saying nothing at all, sometimes putting a hand on their shoulder, sometimes not, and then watching them cover the face and walk out sobbing, sometimes their hands are in the air, like they are clutching at the skirts of heaven, beseeching God for a life that just moments ago was vibrant

tell me how

how does a heart stop beating?? 

how does a lung stop breathing? 

how does everything about that person, the dreams, the smile, the love they shared, the twinkle in their eye, their entire swirling cataloge of memories - how is that suddenly obsolete when their heart betrays them? 

i have seen more death than i wanted and i still don't understand it

and then you mark the roster, put a 1 under the deceased column, and then you go about your night

and you have you done something more?  maybe
you have have made mistakes?  maybe
could you have done something you didn't realize to save someone else's life?  maybe
are you doing more harm than good?  maybe
are you doing more good than harm?  maybe
for every truth, is the opposite also true?  maybe

but its not about me.  its not about if i made a mistake that lead to a death.  its not about me if i tried something that saved someone's life.  the world does not revolve around me - it is gigantic and galactic and star studded and swirling - and all these tiny moments are just part of the slow screaming slow dance of humanity as we spin further and further into madness

and we all try different things to rectify the chaos - to name it, to describe it, to stuff it into a box or package with a bow on top, to force the fluid elements of the universe into something we can work with and understand and build a life on

some people call that religion, or politics, or beliefs, or crutches

there is so much effort to explain, to explain ourselves and our worldview into a position of rightness

but if being here has taught me anything, it is that there is not a an easy answer for anything

there isn't an easy way to wrap yourself around something that is so monumentally unfair, horrendous, unjustifiable, and unexplainable

and for those that think they have the answers, i say walk a mile in the shoes of those you are trying to solve the question for

hold their hands on the way to market

eat boule from the same dish

watch them die in front of your eyes

and again

and then tell me you have the answers

i don't understand how a heart can start beating
i don't understand how a heart can stop beating

i don't understand how the human state is so tenacious yet so fragile

and the only thing that makes sense was written by 2 very wise gents in their time

King Solomon:  in Ecclesiastes - .....a time to be born....and a time to die..... a time to reap....and a time to sew....a time to mourn.....and a time to be comforted...... concluding with "for time and chance happen to us all" 

time and chance

time and chance

everything to its season

and the Beatles:  ......when i find myself in times of trouble.....mother mary comes to me.....speaking words of wisdom, let it be......

in my hour of darkness, she is standing right in front of me, speaking words of wisdom, let it be 

let it be

let it be
let it be

let it be

whisper words of wisdom

let it be

and when the broken hearted people. living in the world agree,

there will be an answer,

let it be

and though they may be parted, there is still a chance that they will see.....

let it be

let it be

let it be

there will be an answer

let it be

....whisper words of wisdom......

let it be 

let it be

and when the night is cloudy, there is still a light that shines on me, shine until tomorrow, let it be

let it be

let it be

let it be

there will be an answer

let it be

1 comment:

  1. "we all try different things to rectify the chaos..." so true, and I also love the idea of a blank page. of it being a beginning.