Friday, February 17, 2012

When a Child Smiles

There are many sad things to be seen, and heartbreaking stories to be told here in Mongu; many injustices and unfair happenings. Every day since being here I have experienced a small part of this heartache, by hearing or being a part of someone’s story. This sorrow, however, I have learned is not nearly as powerful as the sound of a child’s laugh, or the precious sight of a chubby-cheeked grin. These moments leave me recharged, and completely captivate every part of my being. When I can sneak one of these smiles out of a hurting child, for that moment the burden I carry of people’s suffering is relieved; it makes every difficult experience I’ve had since being here somehow seem worth it. When a child laughs, all the sounds of pain and loss within the hospital are silenced. In a corrupt and impure world, it is refreshing to witness the innocence of a child’s happiness, even if it is within the confined walls of a hospital ward. In moments of frustration and sadness, it is easy to forget that there are good things in this world; there are joyous moments to be found within difficult times of hardship. There are no words to explain what a hug from a child feels like here.  When a tiny pair of arms binds tightly around my shoulders, or I feel their fingers wrap around mine, my heart swells and I become the patient. I am the adult, the nurse, the one who is supposed to comfort and reassure THEM, yet they hold a power that could effortlessly heal the world of its pain. There is a lot to be learned from the children here on the pediatric ward. Many of their lives are filled with anguish, hunger and a suffering most of us will never understand, yet they are able to appreciate and find joy in the simplest of things, such as a stream of bubbles from a wand. I’d like to think that I have made an impact on some of these children’s lives these past few days in the Pediatric unit. If I can give them half of the happiness that they have given me, I will have been a part of doing something great in this world.


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