There have been a handful of moments in my life that have completely rocked me. Caused my entire perception of life as I knew it to be shifted. Led me to think, “because of this, I will ever be the same.” I can pinpoint quite a few of these moments at various stages of my life, but it has been at my workplace that my worldview has changed the most recently.

You see, when I started my current job three years ago, it was just that. A job. I needed to help pay the bills while my husband went to seminary, so this part-time job was an answer to prayer. As any idealistic newbie would do, I stepped into my new role with grand plans of changing lives, one ten minute time slot at a time.

Little did I know that my life would be the one most changed.

It did not take long before I was hit hard with reality. Nearly every day at work, I would hear tales of family members dying while attempting to cross the U.S. border. Of families ripped apart by deportations. Of vicious gang violence. Moms and dads and brothers and sisters in prison. Drugs. Violent, grotesque child abuse. Moms who lack the resources to buy food for her hungry children.

Of course, most of the time, things are pretty rosy at work. Kids run the hallways with raucous laughter. Newborns woo me with their sweetness. Parents beg for the “pink stuff” {I will never understand why parents think amoxicillin is the wonder-remedy for any and all ailments. I will never, ever win this battle.}.

But when all is still and quiet and my brain is trying to settle down for the night, it’s always the tough moments that come to mind.

Some may wonder if I am just too sensitive and emotionally wrapped up in my patients. I don’t think so. How can I possibly love on these kids and families if I don’t allow myself to cry over them? I can’t possibly listen to their stories, send them out the door, and never think of them again. How could I?

When I know that these hungry and abused children are only miles down the road, essentially in my own backyard, everything changes. When I am met with real faces and stories of illegal immigrants, everything changes. When I attend the funeral for a child whose life ended all too soon, everything changes.

My heart and mind are constantly trying to process what to do with my ever-increasing knowledge of the real world. On my commutes home from work, I am quick to pick up the phone to call my husband or mom to debrief. Even after my debrief sessions, though, I still feel so restless.

The world is broken. That’s for sure. And I know that I will continue to feel restless this side of Heaven. Until heaven comes down to earth and “rightness” is restored. Or, as the Jesus Storybook Bible so eloquently puts it, everything sad will come untrue. I love this.

I love it because on those really tough days in which I don’t know if my fragile emotions can take another hit of reality, I can rest in the knowledge that one day, God will make all things new and right.

Abuse? Will come untrue.
Poverty? Will come untrue.
Orphan crisis? Will come untrue.
Death? Untrue.
Violence? Untrue.

But for now, I will continue with wrestle with the discrepancy between what is and what will be. And while these vulnerable children and families invade my thoughts, I will fight hard to place my hope in the One who restores and redeems.

1 Comment on everything changes

  1. Well written, Catherine. Thanks for sharing your heart. Your city/clinic/family/neighbors are blessed.

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