On a clear winter morning, the sunrise over the bogs in Hyannis can be spectacular. The navy sky fades to cobalt then a prism of violet to orange and if there’s some scattered clouds around it can look other-worldly. This takes the edge off of getting up for work when it’s dark out, especially dark and freezing, like it’s been. I like to leave early with a mug of hot tea and sit in the parking lot in front of the bog where I can pray and talk to God and try to get my heart and head in a good place before I head into the hospital. In the spring, it’s lighter out, and it’s fun to watch all kinds of birds waking up. It doesn’t seem nerdy to me to be a bird-watcher anymore. Maybe that’s what happens with age.
The hospital at 6:45 a.m. reminds me of one of those Richard Scarry books I used to read to my boys when they were little, “The Busiest Day Ever” or something like that. Just from the parking lot to the door I see nurses, doctors, housekeepers, food servers, nurse’s aides, maintenance crew and administrators. Except unlike the book, they are people, not cats and beavers and worms. (Yes,worms wearing hard hats, I remember that part)And we are all busy, already, before the stress of another day can really weigh in. That’s how hospitals are.
There’s a window I pass on my way to the floor overlooking the bog and it catches me, at least this time of year. The sun is edging up in the black sky and I can see over to my right a huge glass med-surg wing and I know the day is just starting there for a lot of patients, many tired already. Behind me is a building filled with sad stories of sickness, trauma and pain. In the midst of all that there are many good reports and happy endings. But there is also sorrow and unspeakable loss.
Shortly after my son died, I made a corkboard called “The Board of Hope” and tacked anything to it that would help me to look up, to stay focused on who God was, not who I was or wasn’t. I’ve learned over the years of nursing that everyone wants to hope, from the expectant mom in maternity to the chemo patient in oncology. And when a person stops hoping, they quit. As I take in God’s magnificent display in the eastern sky, I ask Him to help me be a light in someone’s darkness, like the Board of Hope. Maybe it’s being able to laugh with them, or listen or just get a ginger ale or blanket. It seems so simple but there are days I walk back to my car at the end of the day and wish I could‘ve done so much more.
The good thing (I guess) is that tomorrow I get another chance. The Busiest Day Ever will start again and as the sun warms the eastern sky over the frozen cranberry bogs, God will help me do it again. It’s what He is, Hope and what He does. So when my amazingly loud and obnoxious alarm clock jolts me out of bed into the frozen blackness of a new day, help me remember Lord, to “be joyful in hope”, and to be your messenger of grace and light no matter how dark it is out there.