Thursday, October 19, 2006

Sometimes Hope is Not Giving Up

Life these days seem too big, too complex, too much. Somedays I go into work and I think, "The system is broken and yet I keep working for it.” I keep plodding along a cog in a machine that is not pretty to look at and even harder to keep running. I'm a nurse in the NHS.

When I first started nursing in 1988 in the states (yes the system is broken there as well) my managers would say, "Let the system fail. Then we can fix it.” In other words stop patching the holes or it will stay broken. The problem with that approach is the one who suffers is the patient and that price is too high.

I was thinking today how to face the bigger picture. How do I do more than just go on being part of the brokenness and patching holes? The only answer I can think of is to take it in bite size amounts, in little steps and one day at a time. Not new concepts and definitely cliché. I have to say that approach leaves me frustrated. The bigger picture overshadows what I do. I feel insignificant.

Hiring freezes are put in place and then there are too few trained staff to provide care. Beds are closed and they sit unused while patients wait 8 hours for treatment. I realize there is too much bureaucracy, too little thought for the patient, and people in suits who have not worked the wards for too long. It makes me angry because I can change jobs but patients can't stop being ill and they are ultimately the ones who suffer. And these people in suits who are trying so hard to look at the bigger picture can't seem to sort it out. It is even bigger than them.

The one hope is that we don't stop. The nurses like me keep plodding along in the broken system trying to make it easier on those who are ill here and now. The bureaucrats keep trying (and I don't doubt their motives) to repair it. Despite our lack of progress, no one gives up. It isn't an option.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

What the Amish Teach Me

After the tragedy faced by the Amish this past month what resonates is their response. I am sure (being human) that they feel anger , fear and the wish for revenge and justice. But they made the choice to respond not with fear and vegeance but with an attempt to forgive. I am awed by them.

I believe many choices are driven by fear and vegeance. To forgive is not something I need to feel--it is a choice I need to make and it is the only way to peace.

I look back to 9/11. What a sad day when a group of extremists shattered thousands of lives and misrepresented Islam.

I look back on the Iraq war and the hundreds of thousands of lives lost. What a sad response made in fear by mainly Christian countries who could not forgive.

It is the Muslim neighbours on my street and the Muslims I work with that remind me we are more alike than different. It is the Amish who remind me we all have the capacity to forgive.