Sometimes it is so obvious that God is moving that it is almost frightening. It is sort of like being invited into an event that is already orchestrated, being told where to stand, what to do. It is evident that what is happening is not being done on my own initiative. At the same time my role seems to be vital to the event. Although the opening of the outreach centre for Gateway is still pending, waiting for the nod from the health board, it seems as if this is going to happen. It makes me wonder, “Why me, God? I am not really the best qualified person for a job like this. Don’t you think a social worker or an addictions worker would be better equipped?” Maybe it is because I am available and can see the needs. Maybe God just wants to show up in ways that are definitely not dependant on my adequacy for the job. I know already that I will have to rely on the wisdom and grace of God to run this drop in centre. I want it to be a place where some of the neediest in our city will encounter the love of Christ. But that is in itself a huge responsibility and necessitates my reliance on God for help. Which in turn means that I have to spend time with God listening to God. Already there are demands on my time that encroach on that time so I need to make it one of my highest priorities.
One of the realities of helping people, of loving them enough to want to help them, is that they make demands on my time – rides, a need to talk, sick people to visit, financial help needed, driver’s lesson practice. I think these are tasks I have been called to help with. Of course I can’t take care of everyone’s needs so I need discernment and wisdom on what to do. I think that setting appropriate boundaries is going to be a challenge – setting boundaries on what I can do without setting boundaries on the love of God that I reflect. I suppose part of this will be directing these folk to agencies and other people who want to step in and help too. It was a good reminder reading the account of Jethro’s advice to Moses in Exodus 18 that others need to be enlisted to help.
So, God, give me wisdom and an ability to discern where to use my time and resources and lots of love for the people I will meet and send others also gifted with love to join me in this work.
That is when the really interesting cases show up. Or the ones that have not come for the past eight years.
Today was about bleeding profusely. Now some bleeding is normal after an extraction but it should not keep up for three days. Everyone was quite concerned. I was too. And I was very happy that I had not done the surgery. That had been the oral surgeons job.
So I called him and got the usual advice about pressure, etc and packing the socket. Stuff I already knew. I was hoping for some magic trick. Instead I did pretty much as advised. Removed suture, packed and replaced suture. Perhaps it was the adrenalin in the local anaesthetic, maybe the tighter suture or even the firmly held pressure, but it did finally stop bleeding.
Then we went on with the rest of our backed up day.
It reminded me again of working in the Congo. I learned the hard way to stop bleeding one night. The extraction had been difficult and some tearing had occurred down on the inside of the last bottom molar. It was nicely stitched back up but that night I got a call from the clinic nurse. — was bleeding, please come. So off I went and by lamp light examined my patient. Indeed there was blood! The nurse set up an IV of saline. That time I also had to reapply sutures and lots of pressure. I recall sitting there with my finger on the bleeding wound like the Dutch boy holding his finger in the leaking dike. And praying. For all I was worth. And we all survived.
Bleeding can be scary. I learned to be very cautious if I had a lingual tear. I learned that a patient can lose a significant quantity of blood from a tooth socket. I learned that pressure can stop most any bleeding. And I learned that God hangs around while I learn my lessons and lets me lean on him.
And those scary lessons learned have over time transformed into confidence which lets me in turn calm the anxieties of my patients. Maturity has got to count for something.
Sometimes there are just good things to support that come across one’s radar. There are a couple of projects that I have become aware of in the past few weeks. One is the Aviva funding competition for Harbour of Hope. If you haven’t heard about this one yet, check out Jordon’s post about this worthwhile project. Click here to read about it and then please go to the Aviva site, sign in and register to start making your votes. It really does only take a few minutes of your time.
Today at church we became aware of another worthwhile project. Family Futures of Prince Albert is launching a fundraising project “Unto Us A Child Is Born.” This is a program that gives support to young mothers and children. Mothers with young children in need receive support so they can be better parents and understand better how to feed and nurture their children. I can’t think of a better way to honour Christ on his birthday than to help children get a better start in life. It is not a Christian organization however I think that when a group targets Christian churches as part of their fundraising and we respond generously we state loudly that we care for the least among us in Christ’s name.
Another group with which I am involved is Fresh Start Ministries. This is a compassionate ministry with the Nazarene Church but they gladly let others join them in reaching out to the hungry and homeless people of Prince Albert. In fact I am chair of their board. I know that we can use funds to help distribute hampers and small gifts to the homeless. We are just a small organization but the opportunities for service to these people is huge. If you need a good local charity to support send me an e-mail.
These are just a few of the opportunities to get involved. If they are not enough for you then get over to one of the groups that sponsors children overseas like World Vision or Compassion and send a little extra their way.
We already have enough stuff to put under our trees at Christmas time. Lets spend some of our excessive wealth on others that really need it.
I have decided that I have a strange character. I am such an introvert and yet I love people. That is where my problem arises. I panic when I am thinking about people coming and filling up all my space and time with their energy. Their energy seems to mean that I must be willing to be drained by theirs.
I am rejuvenated by silence and by being alone. If I don’t have some periods of intense and prolonged solitude, I find myself panicking more quickly, coming to a place where I can’t respond to others in any way that reflects how much I really do like them.
This summer is a summer for people. I love it but it seems as if all my free time is full of doing – going – providing. All things a grandmother should love. I am anticipating a tiring summer. I may end up loving it – and probably will. My home is full of love, food and good times. But inside I am wishing to run away – to a quiet place where I could just sit, no one else would set my agenda, I could read all night or sleep all night if I wished. Maybe there will be time for this in … But I can’t forsee when this time will be. My fall is even filling up. So I panic.
Who will I become, what will I be? I will have to learn to snatch bits of time and hoard them for my spirit’s health. Maybe I will just have to make the seconds of solitude count for more. Each moment will have to be savoured and the sweetness of it mined for the small drops of energy they provide. Perhaps I will become a storehouse of moments – moments I choose to hold silently and live into as fully as I can.
I guess I will see what is left at the end of this summer. I have always found this space a good thing. Something I do in silence and alone. There are just fewer moments to come here too.
And by this time tomorrow there should be two new citizens that have joined the ranks.
Christian and Yaounde have passed their tests and all they must do is get sworn in. Massa will have another go at the test but it will come. Hard stuff to know for a struggling with English guy.
Celebrations will be in order.