Friday, December 28, 2007

Sorely neglected blog

Well, I confess this is about the most neglected blog in the universe lately. Blame my job at the American school. And Facebook.

We had a very quiet Christmas. It wasn't bad, we spent most of our celebration focusing on the reason for the season - the Incarnation, Emmanuel, God with Us -- the birth of Jesus Christ. Most of my Christmas energy went into helping plan a Christmas Eve candlelight service at our church - our first one since we've been attending there, and most of the Liberians said it was their first ever. It was very nice and I think it might become a tradition. I think that since it is so dark this time of year in North America, the symbol of light at Christmas is much more powerful for our culture.

We didn't do anything much for presents - since the kids are already making their plans for their first shopping trip when we get to the USA. I suspect our real first shopping trip will be to purchase coats and hats! Looking at the temperatures in Massachusetts and even Charlotte makes us shiver!

So we have just 19 days till departure... we have plenty to do, but it is beginning to seem like we'll get much of it done. My New Year's resolution is to get back to posting more frequently - So don't give up on us yet.


Gene Brooks said...

So when will you all be in Charlotte-area?

Ashley said...

Hey Rick! This is Ashley from Mr. Carr's bible class. Remember me? I'm was the one who drew green shamrocks on her hands. Anyways, I have no idea how to work this blog stuff so I picked the most updated blog and commented. So I am kinda serious about going into a medical profession but I've noticed that many many doctors, including my parents, seem to lose a lot of their faith in God once they've seen so many terrible things. And that's a little worrisome to me. How were you able to handle the pain of the world and still know that God's in charge and he loves us?

Rick said...

Great question, and there are no simple answers to that. I think there are a couple relevant things though. One problem is maybe our current American society and lifestyle kind of builds in us an expectation that REALLY, nothing bad SHOULD happen. That if something bad happens, then either God is ignoring us, or somebody did something wrong. The biblical view of suffering, though, is that suffering completes us, refines us. Hebrews tells us (Heb 5:8-10) that Jesus learned obedience and was perfected by what he suffered. Even Jesus, sinless Jesus, wasn't complete until he experienced suffering.

I think fellowship is really important too. Working at a mission hospital, we have devotions every day, and we can pray with our patients. I think in the states, a really strong relationship with a couple of other Christian health care providers and/or a strong relationship with a group like Christian Medical Dental Association (CMDA--they are on the web at really can help.

I still really deeply remember several patients who died. I remember my first loss as an intern... and old lady who first had a heart attack and then had a complication and died in the hospital. I cried about that one. And several of the patients I got close to in Liberia. After a while you have to kind of learn to really fully experience the bad--and grieve over it--but then be able to move on. It's a challenge to keep the balance--to remain tender inside but also be able to get on with life.

Thanks for asking. --Rick

Ashley said...

Ooh, good point on the American concept of pain. American's do tend to have that outlook on suffering. I guess for me, it's one thing if some dies; but it's a whole different story if someone gets their arms and legs blown off and ends up living out their years not being able to function. (hehe, and I know that's a drastic example but the whole idea of losing a limb is my worst fear so I figured I'd use it.) So, i know that the bible states that we will experience suffering on this world and God's in control through it all. But it's hard for me to trust God as to how much I'm going to have to deal with in order to be refined. And when I see an amazing patient dying my first reaction is "that's not fair". So, living in America, how would I go about changing my view on pain? There's no point in me living in fear of pain; but ever since i've worked in the ER, or at a doctors office, i've come to find that there are quite a few things that I wouldn't mind being afraid of. And I definitely don't want to become a Chrisitan who is paralized by fear. After all, I'm not a slave to fear anymore.
Sorry, i have like 10 billion questions and I know you'll be extraordinarly busy when you get back to Liberia so I wanted get some of them finally answered! Thanks for your last responce, it made my day!