Mark was sick this last week-just a two day, miserable bout of fever, dehydration, and stomach issues. As I nursed him (to the best of my ability) hour after hour and all through the night, I couldn’t help but think of the last time I had taken his temperature every few hours, walked with him to the restroom every half hour, and cooled his feverish skin with cold washcloths. My, how things have changed. Thank God, thank you God, for your protection on that little island in the big Pacific. From multiple foot infections, eye ulcers, heat exhaustion, and dehydration battles….I am, again, so aware that we were not on our own. I am so thankful that we can walk and see and that beyond a few very uncomfortable days, we were (and remain) incredibly healthy. (Also thankful that our bathroom is attached and inside of our apartment, for amazing air conditioning, and the gift of cold, refrigerated water to drink!)
Not only did God protect us, he used us (yes me!) to nurse others. When I think about the amount of times I looked out our (perpetually) open doors and saw a huddled mass bringing a bleeding student, neighbor, kava bro, or church elder to my house….crazy. My heart would immediately sink to my stomach, as I grabbed every medicine, ointment, and bandage we owned. From busted heads to machete hacked feet, back pain, tooth aches, and infections….I have never practiced as much “nursing” as I did in Tonga. Again, thank God, that my poorly wrapped bandages and suggested doses brought healing and comfort.
As I think and hope and plan about my time in Thailand, I am reminded of my unexpected (and yes, often unwanted) role as a nurse in Tonga. I often felt inadequate and scared, even by the simple task of cleaning a wound. But I was the only one with first aid materials-and the nearest doctor a good 2 hour boat ride away. So with prayers on my lips, and tentative hands-I did what I could, what was needed.
Praying now to be willing in whatever way I am needed in/at here in Thailand. I pray for courage to do the things that intimidate me. For a happy heart to do the things I’d much rather not spend my time doing. For a (perpetually) open door that tells my new friends, co-workers, neighbors, and whoever else that comes into our lives- that they are welcome. That we will drop everything, always.
Still learning from our little island on the edge of the world,