The thoughts of a woman trying to live simply yet abundantly, contentedly yet expectantly, wisely yet adventurously... all for His glory.

9.01.2010

I think I want to go home

Continuing to blog day-by-day about my time in Niger... 

Wednesday (day 7) and Thursday (day 8) : I think I want to go home

Wednesday went well--our first time doing three surgeries in one day. Two women had their surgeries after lunch, so for Sarah and I on the ward it meant most of our work was stacked at the end of the day. Everything went smoothly, but after twelve hours, I had nothing left to give. And still we had to come back in the evening after dinner to check on the women for the night and pass out meds.

I've begun to realize just how few resources we have here. There's no one to come and replace me when I have finished my shift. It would be easy in circumstances like these to feel like everything stands or falls on me and how much I pour myself out. Of course I don't have the resources or sheer will power to accomplish these things; only God does. But can I recognize that? Can I seek Him in the midst of need? That's always, always the rub.

Hard at work in the OR
Thursday promised to be similar to Wednesday's routine--three surgeries, one before lunch and two afterwards. But when Sarah received the first patient back from the OR, it became rapidly clear that this would not be a good day. VVF surgery is an art, and unlike some other surgeries you are never guaranteed a good outcome. Things started poorly in the OR with scarred tissue that wouldn't hold stitches. By the time she was with us on the ward, she was wet. And all we could do was start her on a medicine and hope against all hope that the surgery hadn't failed.

This is the line we choose to walk in working with VVF. We exist moment by moment in the space between hope and despair, joy and sorrow, dancing and mourning. Most of the time we walk in light, rejoicing with the women as hope transforms them. It's easy to praise God in the light. But sometimes we seem to walk in darkness and pain. Only God can right some wrongs, and of course you have to wonder why He chooses not to do so. And when the answers are not clear (are they ever?) you have a choice. You can trust that He can and does work all things for good, despite appearances to the contrary. Or you can decide that because He allows pain and suffering in the world, He doesn't actually know what He's doing.

I choose to trust. But it doesn't make it any easier to sit and just be with a woman as her hopes shatter.

I choose to trust, but I also don't know how much of this I can take. It's all well and good when things run smoothly, surgeries succeed, women are dry. But on days like today, I think I want to go home.

next post (Friday) : queen of the orient