The “Yes” of Peter (from the Fraternity Exercises) has been incredible for me since the very first time I read it, and having read it several times in these days, I’ve discovered two human positions that are born of, and are understood from, that humanly foolish “yes”. The first is that Peter discovered himself loved, and being loved, over and above his qualities. The second is that from this love for his life, within Peter was born a “yes Christ, I love you”, and he started to follow Him, to imitate Him, to bring Him along on each and every adventure: every embrace, every time that he was calling his friends to go fishing,…
I’ve discovered these two positions in myself at work, in the hospital.
The first position. You are loved. I got to my shift, passionate and willing to immerse myself in the miracle of life when my coordinator looked at me and said, “Lucy, quickly, run to the operating room.” I entered and there I was to take care of a woman whose history I knew nothing about. But what my eyes saw was enough: the neonatologists had just given up resuscitating her newborn baby, 24 weeks old and who had accomplished his mission on earth in 21 minutes. Margaret did not know the destiny of her son because she was sleeping under general anesthesia, still on the operating room bed in the middle of a cesarian section. The father was in the room next door, crying, as he had to agree to stop the baby’s resuscitation. Tragedy…my heart was crushed. My legs ran from the operating room to the recovery room—from pain to pain. Margaret woke up from the anesthesia and was embraced by her husband; never had an embrace been filled by words and tears like that one. She was very sick after the operation: breathing difficulties and an infection. I took care of her, and of the father, and of the little child in the recovery. I gave them everything as she fell in and out of consciousness, but when I was about to leave, as the night shift has finished, she woke up and said, “thank you for what you have done for us tonight”.
I was running down the corridor to grab a particular drug when a colleague, pushing a wheelchair carrying an African woman who was crying, asks me to look after the patient for five minutes in order for her to find another midwife to take care of her, as she was in labour. This woman was having contractions, one after another. She takes her clothes off, with the freedom that only the African women have, and was singing through the contractions. After a couple of minutes she grabs my shoulders and says, “my baby is coming!” We were breathing together, she pushes and sings, and her fifth child is given life. Silence and joy. I ask her: “do you want to call the father?” She dialed the number and he answered and she, without announcing the birth, just sang: “alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!” At that point I break into tears, realizing that Christ didn’t wait even ten minutes to give me the gift that I had asked for. With my heart filled with gratitude and emotion, I welcomed the new midwife who, thank God, took 15 minutes to come in, and I went back to Margaret—full.
Second position. Overwhelmed by His love, you love yourself, and the love actually comes from deep within you, like Him. Sunday was a long day shift and we were short staffed. I took the hand-off of ten postnatal women: which meant ten women and ten babies—twenty people I was to care for. I literally ran all day to answer everyone’s needs: breastfeeding, medications, parameters,… Among the women was Emily. I had taken her to the operating room, and after the cesarean section took care of her during the recovery. When I transferred her to postnatal ward, I said, “now I need to put your information into the computer and then hand you over to your new midwife. I will come back to hug you and then I will leave and go back to labour ward”. I put the details in the computer, gave the hand off, and with a million of things that I still needed to do, I quickly went back to labour ward without saying goodbye to Emily. At the end of the shift, I’d done 10 km of running around and I finished one hour late, finally ready to leave the ward. I got to the main entrance of the hospital, and in that precise moment I remembered: Emily, the hug! In a nanosecond I turned around, took the stairs, entered the postnatal ward, bed 12, and I opened the curtain. Emily looked at me, surprised, as I was wearing my normal clothes. “Emily, the hug!!” “I was waiting for you, Lucy!”
It’s enough to say “yes”, like Peter, in front of Christ. Our “yes” is enough.