For those of you who are regulars to my blog you know that periodically I visit Children’s Hospital and go bedside-to-bedside sharing music, stories and conversation with the children. I’ve been doing this for years. Initially, when I first started, I thought that it would get easier with time; that I would become “somewhat” desensitized to the pain of the children I would witness.
This hasn’t been the case. It is actually getting harder and harder to make these visits each year. I’m experiencing a strange juxtaposition between a feeling of wanting to resist facing the unknown and a compelling sense of need to fulfill purpose.
As I was driving to the hospital I began admonishing myself for having these thoughts. I know most of you will call it self-reflection. It actually felt selfish, somewhat self-centered for me to be thinking about myself, and how I would cope with the experiences I was about to have. It wasn’t lost on me that I was focusing on my own condition without taking into the account the severity of the conditions so many of the children I was on my way to work with are facing.
A sense of shame washed over me. I am being honest. I thought to myself, “How dare I!”
If the truth be told, I receive so much more from the children at Children’s Hospital than I give. I know that whenever I leave the hospital, I will be tormented by a distressing sadness; I also know that I’ve always experienced a deep sense of spiritual fulfillment.
These probably sound like the incoherent ramblings of a doddering old ideologue. I can’t help that.
I made the rounds and did my best to be in a joyous space and bring as much light as possible. I could detail the horrendous states that I found most of the children in and describe, in graphic detail the external appearances of their suffering. That would serve no one.
When I finished my work at the hospital I sat in my car, in the parking lot, for over an hour reflecting on the children whom I had just met. To cross paths with little souls tortured by physical pain but still able to smile and push the bar of courage higher and higher demonstrates a depth of character way beyond their years, far beyond what I may ever know.
It is a blessing to be permitted to be of service. I don’t know of anything more rewarding, or purposeful, in life.