Friday, August 24, 2007


"Be pleased O Lord to deliver me; O Lord make haste to help me! Let them be ashamed and brought to mutual confusion Who seek to destroy my life" - Psalm 40: 13-14 NKJ translation

That verse struck me and made me think about today's academic community. In my Human Development and Family Studies (HDFS) graduate school courses, we center mostly on discussion over the tons and tons and (did I mention tons) of readings we do before class. Our first classs introduced the idea of nature versus nurture and how advances in genetics have added to this debate. We of course, got into talking about ethics surrounding this new genetic technology including cloning, embryonic stem-cell research, and abortion as a result of genetic testing. Being premed I wanted to put in my two-cents every few seconds, but I held my tounge to see what my other classmates said.

Confusion. Everyone had an idea, but no one believed any government, much less this present Administration should control and regulate this new technology. Everyone was entitled to their own opinions, yet no one knew what they would do if they were in that situation, "We can't judge. We can't judge." "How do I really know what's right or wrong?" "What is right and wrong?" "We each have to decide for ourselves." "How do you know what's right for you is right for me?" Everyone was speaking, but with no framework of some overarching social norms (morals) in which to speak in. I put in this about government regulation: "Well, when the government regulates something, it has some sort of value structure in mind. When it does its best to provide health insurance to the vulnerable, when it allows for free education to a point, these things reflect the values of the government and the society. Our society hasn't settled on a moral framework for this new technlology, but when it does, I believe the government will regulate it according to the societal norms." It wasn't advocating for a Christian point of view per se, but I was saying that there was something called right and wrong and there are overarching principles that govern society.

I am not confused because I trust in God and He is my guide. That doesn't make decision-making a snap, but I know His law and I know that He is sovereign, and the founders of this nation were heavily influenced by His law, if not even strong Christians.

It was amazing though, how I could mentally tease apart the debate while others in the class, instructor included, flounded and fought with their own, and the philosophy of reletavism's confusion. God has confused them, I believe, but I also believe that He will open their eyes and ears once they turn to Him.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Indescribable revisited

In my last blog, I mentioned the song Indescribable. Thinking about it more this Sunday, I realize that I cried during that song for several reasons nearly all of them having to do with how my work in the hospital changed the way I view God. Like I said in my last blog, images of God's broken creation in the form of sick/injured patients came to my mind, but my mind's eye also saw those patients who praised God through their illnesses and/or made tremdoous strides in their recovery. Indescribable joy and praise to God was the feeling I felt when I walked into a room and saw a patient sitting up in bed talking to me when the last time I saw her, she was heavily sedated with a tube in her throat to deliver oxygen rendering her unable to talk. I couldn't take my eyes off of her as she sat up smiling as I bustled around putting up the rails and preparing to move her by bed (she still wasn't strong enough to walk) to a procedure. I was so worried that she wouldn't be cognitively intact because she had several scars running down her scalp, but yet we were talking like two people getting aquainted on a bus or over coffee.

Indescribable was the same awe for God's restoration when I saw the mended face and eyes of a patient who for a few weeks was blinded by severe facial trauma.

Indescribable was my feeling of how God comforted me as I transported several patients I had known after they had passed. He was my calm as I carried out my work duties, and He was my shoulder when I did have that moment where I could just cry. And He was my joy when I realized that the patients may be with Him with no more pain and sufering.

Indescribable was my sense of how God truly did use me when a high-school aged volunteer told me how he had learned so much from me when he told me at my going-away potluck. This kid wanted to pursue the premed track in college, and I did everything I could to explain what he was seeing in patient care and how that would relate to his high school and college science classes. I also told him that being in this field was hard at times when patients suffered, but God would be your strength and theirs, and even in our job as transporters, we could do what we could to try and alleviate their pain. I never realized what an impact I had made until he told me. Knowing I had impacted one of the next generation of doctors was rather humbling and I thanked God for it.

My understanding of God, His blessings, and His character grew as my exprience in the medical field grew. Yet, God is still a mystery, and the medical field brought that out as well. When I struggled as to how to pray for patients wanting them to be healed but yet not wanting their suffering to go on, when I wondered how someone in the position of healing can be so demeaning to those lower on the 'medical totem-pole', when medicine sometimes seemed to put more money into a technilogical arms race and the latest archetecture for clinics while patients still crowded into the ER and the acute clinics because no one else would see them - These times were the times where God's hand seemed a mystery. Yet I never stopped praising Him or trusting Him with the medical field.

So, why did I cry when I heard the song Indescribable? Because I knew more of the goodness, the comfort, and how muc more God is a mystery now then I did before.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

From the wards to the lecture halls

I return once more to CSU. From wandering the halls where antiseptic and other smells waft from different rooms to halls where people sit and wait for classes to begin. Going from helping a patient who is in a lot of pain move to helping a study buddy who is stressed out. Campus and the hospital seem like they are a world apart.

Working in the hospital has changed me in ways I think I might just be figuring out. Like today at church during worship, I reflected on the songs "Joyous Light" and "Indescribable" by Chris Tomlin. I had always liked the song Indescribable in undergraduate but now when I pondered the song, I pondered God's creation in the human body, but images of the human body sick and broken came to my mind. Tears flowed down my face because I knew now the pain of watching another human suffer illness and injury, but yet through that, I could see God's hand still. This same song that had me jumping around joyously because pictures of perfect molocules from my textbooks ran through my brain now had me in tears because I had seen the other side of my premed classes: the pain and suffering in the patients I saw. That aspect change me, yet my praise of God never changed. However, I feel apart from the world I knew because of so much happening. WIth work and with helping a family member who had lost her job.

That crisis plus work was my life for a good 10 months with me clinging to God through it all. I left my undergraduate year happy to be graduating, progressing in my walk with God and recovering from two recent losses. The year off the family crisis and being immersed in a clinical setting changed me and maybe even scarred me again. So, who am I now? Who is this graduate student here in the Library where I had sat as an undergraduate? I still access that joy I had my first 4 years of being Christian, but now I also understand what it means to cry out to God when I am in pain or when I see the pain of others and it makes me hurt inside too. God shaped me somehow through all this. Now with this new shape, I must somehow fit into the world of campus I had once walked before.