Thursday, August 5, 2010

day 202: "mombrellas"

Last summer our-now-missionary daughter was the camp nurse for a summer teen camp for several weeks between her junior and senior year of college. She had been an RN for over a year (she was on her second degree—this time in biblical studies) and had worked during the school year at the large, outstanding Baylor Hospital in Dallas. She was so excited to have the opportunity to give her summer to over six hundred young people each week—and to hopefully learn some “outdoor” emergency skills that she might need on the mission field. (There were experienced EMT’s also serving, but Kayla would be the only nurse and, thus, would have the title of official camp nurse.)

I was excited for her, but I also felt such a burden for her. It seemed like such a huge responsibility for a twenty-three year old. Kayla had worked in an ER, worked full time as a nurse for a year, etc., but it still felt “big” to me. I prayed and prayed for the safety of the campers and that nothing devastating would happen as Kayla was in charge this summer. (Obviously, I didn’t want anything bad to happen period, but I especially felt heavy-hearted for Kayla’s critical role in the summer camp.)

Early in the second week of camp, the phone rang first thing in the morning, and I felt butterflies in my stomach as I saw that it was Kayla’s number. She had been so busy during the first week that she could only call at ten or eleven at night after all the campers were in their cabins. I quickly answered the phone, feeling that something was amiss.

And something was. In the night, Kayla got called to a cabin in which a sixteen year old boy was having CPR administered to him by one of the EMT’s (whose cabin was closer). The EMT, Kayla, and the counselors knew the young man’s chances were slim to survive, but the EMT continued to work until the ambulance got there and rushed the camper to a local hospital. The hour in which the medical personnel worked on the man had to have been the longest hour of Kayla’s short life thus far. Here she was, camp nurse—and one of her campers was lying in front of her dying.

I cried and cried that day—for the counselors, fellow campers, the boy’s family—and for my camp nurse who was hurting like she had never hurt before. There was nothing any of them could have done. The young man died of an acute asthma attack of which nobody could have prevented or resuscitated him from. Yet still the burden and responsibility of this young boy’s death weighed heavily on Kayla.

During the days that followed I wished so much that I could pull out my imaginary secret weapon: the “mombrella.” You know, that invisible umbrella that we moms can just open with a click of a button and spread above our dear children. That fool-proof, repellant dome that protects our kids from all of the horrowing things this world dishes out to them. The hiding place that we can create under this beautiful mombrella that no pain, sorrow, or hurt can break through.

And yet, I couldn’t. I had to enter Kayla’s dark, stormy days with no umbrella of any kind—much less the secret, perfect mombrella that I envision carrying into my kids’ turbulent winds and hail.

Or did I? I mean—maybe I can’t give my kids the “mombrella” that I would like to give them…but maybe I can give them something even better—that is, if I can get past the fact that I myself have nothing to offer, no mombrella, no hiding place that I create. If I can see beyond myself as my kids’ savior in dark days—and trust God to take them through whatever comes their way. I mean, after all, isn’t a “God”brella so much better than any “mom”brella that I might create, even if I could fashion a large, colorful, full-protection one?

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