I want to share with you an essay written by Alece Ronzino that I found on a blog entitled “Life Overseas: The Missions Conversations” which, by the way, I recommend to you for some fascinating thoughts on mission life. It is entitled “Bring the Rain“.
I choose to share this essay with you because Pamela, baby Angel and I have been in Galveston 12 days now. It feels as if the drought of waiting has ended and the storms have begun.
Make no mistake about this new beginning. The Shriners’ Burn Center has received us most warmly and kindly. This is a place of caring and skilled professionals who have said again and again, “We are amazed that this child is alive.” This new beginning for Angel emerges from the solid ground of the responsible care given by the hospital staff in Maua who worked so hard for the last 6 months to sustain her, and it comes from the determined devotion of a mother’s love for her child. Mostly it is rooted, in the nature of God who is always creating joy and transformation out of tragedy and sorrow.
God’s creative love does not promise, however, that Angel will suddenly have a beautiful new face and instantaneous joy filled days. The truth of God and God’s creation is in the essay. “The drought doesn’t end until the storms start.” Angel has entered the storm season. She has had three surgeries in 12 days and every day she has procedures that are painful. They are painful as they are happening and they leave her in pain afterwards. She is being handled by many many different people who often unintentionally scare her. She has tubes running from every limb and from her nose and from her feet. She has bandages that cover her head. Her eyes are sewn partially shut. She has a fever from an infection. And the treatments have just begun. The torrential rains are upon her and upon Pamela. The storms are terrible and yet welcomed. New life awaits.
The gift of new life has actually already started. Angel has gained two pounds, is making many funny noises, has four teeth, is tracking people and lights and toys with her quick dark eyes. She smiles with a mouth that has become more centered and more pliable due to facial massages and lotions and an unending mist machine. She has won the hearts of her care givers, of her many visitors, and has a place now in the Shriner hospital family for the next 20 years.
Pamela is learning how to wrap bandages, take blood pressures, do CPR, do scar massage, think about foods from a nutritionist’s point of view, discuss Angel’s behaviors from a child developmental perspective. Pamela, like all of the parents, has counseling twice a week. She is also a necessary and important part of a medical team that meets weekly and plans for Angel’s care.
Pamela is just one of the many parents who walk these halls and sit in these rooms. There are over 1500 patients that come and go throughout the year at Shriners’ Burn Center. For Pamela, the person who has become most important to her daily life is Rosa. Rosa is Pamela’s roommate, and she is from Mexico. Rosa’s 8 year old son was burned in a car accident in Mexico City 4 months ago. The fun part of this relationship for Pamela is that Rosa doesn’t speak English and Pamela doesn’t speak Spanish, yet they have become dear friends by teaching each other their languages and their dances. I assure you that there is a lot of laughter and joy emanating from their room each night.
And we, you and I, are we not also experiencing the smell of rain and its promise of new life? Angel has touched the hearts of so many people; people who have formed a community of love around her. We feel her vulnerability and we hear God’s whisper in our ears asking us to help her.
From the hospital’s send off on the day we left by the nurses and staff and Pamela’s family to the funds collected, the waters have flowed with life. Your monies have paid for plane tickets, for clothes for both Pamela and Angel, for a stroller to use in transporting Angel through the hospital, for diapers, for a cell phone so that Pamela’s family can call her, for toiletries and daily meals. And be assured that your visits and and prayers and acts of kindness have brought Pamela great comfort and joy in this vast sea of fear and anxiety. Yet we find ourselves woven together by the mighty force of Christ’s compassionate will. We find ourselves in this storm of faith being made new once again. Ah, Christ , rain on each of us that we might live..