Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Ship Life

Strange community this
One where strangers from all tribes and tongues
Somehow morph into family that you can’t imagine leaving
Engine hums and ocean waves rock you to sleep
Captain’s call and noisy pagers rouse you
Neighbors live in the bunk below you
Conversations are clearly heard through the walls

Meetings, meetings, meetings
New friends just arrived as others leave
Day trips to the beach, bargaining for transportation
“Hibernating” to avoid the noise or the people
Showing up to movie nights with your pillow and some popcorn
Laughing ‘til your sides hurt at a joke you can’t explain
Phonecalls home at midnight hoping someone will answer
Conversations twisted by culture and language
Fishbowl life at it’s best and worst

A stairway away the wards clamor with people
Tiny babies strapped to backs with any scrap of material
Crutches and walkers clatter through the halls
Mamas sleeping under the bed
Magnets holding up curtains, IVs and diet signs
Day workers playing Jenga with bandaged patients
The beauty of whiskered babies showing off their grins
Hands reaching, grabbing, wanting to be held
In a hundred languages “sister, friend, nurse, aunty” can be heard
Miracles seen in the wounds that heal
Rejoicing with tears as the hearts heal as well

The drums begin to pound and your heart sings with joy
As the patients that have become friends pull you in and dance
This place that melds so many cultures, but has a unique one of it’s own
That sits on the cusp of Africa but never truly is Africa
This place that break your heart and mends it
Again and again
And the thing that pulls you through is Faith.

Mustard seed of faith that grows and stretches you into more
More than you ever thought you might be
Different than you first imagined
Roots reaching down and forever changing your heart
Until it wants to burst with this unexpected love for those around you
Branching out, strengthening, standing tall
Until you realize that weakness is a strength
For strong branches are the ones that break under the stress around them
The weak branches bend and there is your true strength
Learning to be weak enough to let God bend you
Even though what you want most is to be strong and tall
Learning to sway in the winds of change
Learning that loving means letting go
And that being a family of the heart
Is still a family, even when you part.

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