Morning by Morning (12/9/17)

My daily gratitude for:

  1. A good friend and great student of history and faith, Jeremy Hegi. I loved being housemates with him and appreciated his ability to see multiple perspectives but to claim his voice nonetheless. Happy birthday!
  2. A fantastic morning with the kids including Shipley’s, Christmas tree shopping, wrapping gifts with Aiden, Rat a Tat Cat, and playing at the park with Ryan. These days are fantastic for fatherhood and family.
  3. Blue sky. Seeing a cloudless blue sky is a crazy awesome feeling of smallness, and I love it.
  4. The joy of giving gifts!

Morning by Morning (12/7/17)

My daily gratitude for:

  1. Morning donuts with Ryan…always a nice treat to have his company.
  2. Working at Texas Children’s with child life therapists, music therapists, pet therapists (and her pet Elsa), art therapists, physical and occupational therapists, and rehab therapists. What a crazy cool place where kids get every option to help heal and feel good.
  3. Wearing a beanie. It’s fun!
  4. Bonnie Hedrick, a fantastic nurse in the PICU who balanced a family drama with the care for a child who hadn’t received much justice in this world. Her hands blessed him and showed him love.

Morning by Morning (12/5/17)

My daily gratitude for:

  1. The social workers on my unit who I enjoy as friends and colleagues, Kim and Shannon. They are great encouragers and supporters and bring me lots of laughter!
  2. The upcoming opportunity to see beautiful newborn babies that have arrived into my family and friends, namely Capri (Keven and Amanda) and Elle (Adam and Carrie). What a wonderful blessing that will be!
  3. The cold weather that arrived this afternoon and brought the extra Christmas feeling.
  4. Ryan’s growing desire to challenge me, disobey and push boundaries. It’s frustrating for any parent, but at the same time it is a stage of life learning independence and self identity, and I can appreciate it for what it is.

A Pediatric Workers Nightmare

On Friday I was called to a unit where a nurse just learned her child, just weeks old, was headed to an ER.

That’s it.

No news, no updates, no words from the ambulance. Just a devastating void of answers, a pregnant with baited breath and tears and grief kinda pause. A terrifying fear filled silence.

And my worst nightmare.

Well, not just mine, but everyone who works in a pediatric hospital who has kids or grandkids shares this nightmare. My child gets sick. My child rushed to the ER. My child far from me. My child without me. My child struggling. It is as though my heart would break just hearing about it and talking about it again. Working where I do, I am always reminded of the heartache caused in the blink of an eye, in a moment, and in between one breath taken and the next silenced breath.

It is not uncommon for people like me to fear that my child has died when he’s not in my bed in the morning. Yes, just because he is not making noise in the room I may wonder if he suddenly fell off his dresser, he stroked, or picked up some random virus from the carpet that caused him to stop breathing immediately. Completely irrational, but feels so real given the story of the nurse above. Now, I’m not actually that overtaken by fear. But the fear is present. The nightmare still in the back of my mind that I hear my child is sick and I’m not there. That is just scary and cuts deep to my heart. And I manage it well most of the time.

On Monday, I hear from a coworker that child died, before she even got to the ER.

Stunned silence. But this time, it’s not the nurse who is overwhelmed by the silence, but me and her staff who instead feel utterly heart broken.

The nightmare begins again.

But even then, my nightmare is but small in light of this baby’s lifeless body in his mother’s arms. I just have a nightmare, she a tragedy. It is a small price for providing a ministry of presence in her silence of not knowing. It is the necessary cost of serving places of pain where Gods hiddenness feels real and the pain of grief more real.

The nightmare realized.

Come Lord Jesus. Come with your light into the darkness of nightmares become real.

Morning by Morning (12/4/17)

My daily gratitude for:

  1. My mom! Happy birthday Mom! I love how you interact with Ryan and are so creative in your gift giving- your a special grandmother to my kids! I also know that you are a good and supportive mom who tries to maintain good boundaries but always wants to show and express your love. Love you!
  2. Preaching at my church and getting to share with them about my life in the childrens hospital and the times where I feel God is hidden. It’s that kind of honesty that allows me to seek out true light, true joy, true hope, and it’s a real blessing to encourage that at SWC.
  3. Imaginary Easter egg hunts with Ryan. Love them!
  4. The good fun of playing disc golf on the weekends with my friends. Thanks Josh and Stephen!

Morning by Morning (12/1/17)

My daily gratitude for:

  1. The power of presence for families who are losing a child. I was with 2 families whose children died, and though I said little during those visits, I could tell how much it meant to sit with them and pray and listen.
  2. Caring for a nurse who heard her child was taken to an ER suddenly. It was a gift to show her compassion and get her to her child.
  3. Our amazingly compassionate Spanish interpreters at the hospital.
  4. The warm home with Christmas decorations I am returning to tonight. I need home!

Morning by Morning (11/30/17)

My daily gratitude for:

  1. Feeling Gods sacred presence during prayer and knowing God is working through me! What a profoundly powerful and humbling feeling!
  2. Attending a beautiful and moving funeral today where I saw a church that does lament and grief faithfully.
  3. My great colleagues at Texas Children’s.
  4. The grace and comraderie with the staff of the TCH PICU. They are great and forgiving when I cannot be in the unit as often as I’d like.

Morning by Morning (11/29/17)

My daily gratitude for:

  1. Christmas decorations. I never want to be too much of a consumer during Advent, but there is a special feeling when I see Christmas decor on the mantle, tables, and the Christmas tree. It’s just beautiful and signifies that it’s a special season.
  2. The #metoo movement. I hope the movement forged a better culture and care for women.
  3. The many worshipping communities of many faiths in Houston, which I got to see as I worked on a project compiling places of worship near us for our Spiritual Care department.
  4. Aiden’s early Christmas gift in my stocking!!! A paper bracelet titled “Worlds Best Step Dad”!!! I love it!

Morning by Morning (11/28/17)

My daily gratitude for:

  1. The sweet family of X I dearly love. He is recovering from a surgery now. They are a family where faith meets strength meets joy, and they resilient in so many ways. Prayers and prayers for this family and for X.
  2. David Pipes, who celebrates a birthday this week (and maybe today!). Happy birthday to one of my favorite elders!
  3. The youth at our church who have such great hearts and are quite perceptive people: DeAndre, King, Taylor, Xander, Colton, Keyshon, Traevion. Good, good kids.
  4. Making a “fire station” with Ryan!

Morning by Morning (11/25/17)

My daily gratitude for:

  1. Justice, even if it comes incomplete. This week one of the leaders of the Bosnian Serbs, Ratko Mladic, was convicted of genocide by a UN war crimes panel and was a leader in the massacre of 8000 Muslim men and boys in Srebrenica in 1995. It was a small symbol of justice but a significant one because those 8000 need to be remembered as much as Mladic.
  2. The women who are voicing their painful experiences of assault and harassment, because they need both justice and to be heard.
  3. Medical missions trips and the people who are so devoted to serving those with critical health issues.
  4. Riding a bike with Ryan in the neighborhood this morning in the beautiful morning sun.
  5. College football rivalry week! Fun to watch!