Even on a hospital ship, whose purpose is to bring hope and healing, there are still limits. Monday I watched as two precious little ones left the ship, one in a beautiful yellow sundress and a beaming smile on her face headed for the HOPE Center. The other cradled with love in the arms of a Chaplin heading home to be buried.
This is the second death since we’ve been here and sadly it was a baby that we just couldn’t help. But just as before we were able to provide love, to ensure this baby went from one set of loving arms into the Father’s.
Life is fragile. There are often not enough answers to the questions in our hearts. Its especially hard when it just seems unfair… Why this child, this family? The pain of a moment cannot be salved by cliche well wishes or sentiments. The respite comes in the actions of others.
For days before in the hospital nurses, doctors and crew had loved this child, loved this family, has cared for this baby with the upmost compassion and covered the family and child in prayers. Strong arms had held the fading life, had comforted the mama and eyes had shed tears. Upstairs another show of love and honor was still to be seen.
On Monday afternoon the Captain came to me and told me we needed to shut down Reception for a few minutes. There was a weight to the instructions but as the area was cleared out and the doors shut I felt a wave a peace come through the space. As the family walked out I watched as five big, grown men stood guard of the doors and I could tell these men were praying, could tell that these men were loving and honoring this family in a moment where words would only fail. It’s out of respect to the family I say no more of what I saw, it was a moment for them to experience but suffice to say love and empathy was tangible in that space.
I mentioned there are limits to Hope and Healing but these limits are only physical. The little girl with the big smile and yellow sundress was physically healed and restored to a life of promise and hope. I must remember that the baby was healed too; the baby is free from pain, free from darkness, and now enveloped in great Hope.
Life is fragile. Healing is real. Life is unfair. Love is real.