The temperature is absolutely perfect. There is a slight breeze and I can hear and see the waves crashing on the shore directly 50m in front of me. I'm lathered up with sunscreen and ready to snorkel around the reef. It sounds and looks a lot like paradise but is honestly much needed after a crazy busy week with days beginning soon after 6am and working 7am until 6 or even 8pm to get everything done. My ward team leader has gone home for holidays and I am filling in for her and although she's already done some of the work needed while she's away, there has been plenty of work to do outside of 'office hours'. I'm not complaining and am happy to stick around and get it done but when the day ends and all I have accomplished is eat and work and it is now time for bed, I wonder how long I could last like this? Where is the time for creativity? Where is time for sitting down with a friend for coffee and discussing life outside of work and outside of this ship? After a day full of answering questions and solving problems and over stimulation every way I turn, my energy disappears the minute I sit down in the quiet to read my bible or sit at my computer, I slump and slide down to a lying position, desperate to catch up on the sleep I've missed.
So now I sit here in front of the ocean with nothing on my agenda but to relax and be refilled. I am more convinced than ever that I need Jesus with me daily. Without him nothing makes sense, without him I am useless. Without him on the ship we are just bringing medical care and I want it to be so much more than that.
Although not every day holds a baby smiling in my arms, today it looked like washing a little 6yr old patient's hair for the first time since surgery and seeing her bouncy curls spring back to life. It was seeing a 21yr old on the ward pumping weights (1kg!) to gain muscle mass while he waits to heal from surgery, with a cheeky grin spread right across his face. It was waving goodbye to a dear little boy and his mama and papa who have demonstrated an attentive love like no family I have seen in the wards.
Although it takes so much energy, in many ways it fills me up more than a day in front of the ocean relaxing. I love the daily activity in my ward, sorting out the crying children, the problem solving, the constant hustle and bustle of nurses completing tasks, changing beds, helping patients to the toilet, giving meds, putting in IVs and sometimes I just turn around and see amidst the controlled chaos a nurse is playing a game of Jenga with a couple of patients and a caregiver or she is reading a picture book to a little patient, half in English and half in the Malagasy and I can't help but think, this is love in action. What a privilege to be a part of all of this. How amazing to be a part of the journey in each of these patient's lives. I'll give all of my energy over and over again to show each of these patients how much Jesus freely poured out for them.