During my paddling adventures, I have made photographs of people in 33 different countries. Generally, people are delighted to have their photos taken. In my experience, whether in a dried river bed of Baja or a bustling Manaus market, when I point my camera and ask permission, a person stands straighter and smiles bigger. When I visited Russia twenty years ago, the response of people to my request for a photo was different. When I pointed my camera and asked to take a photo, people were vehemently opposed and covered their faces with scarves and turned away. People were afraid of the KGB. Afraid to be noticed. Standing out, singled out is dangerous.
God is not KGB. But, there are times when I am afraid. There are times when my heart dares to soar with joy again. Then, times when I want to stay low, off the radar. Maybe that is why one nurse always tucks me in and says "stay boring and uneventful tonight." She knows that the ones who do best are the uninteresting ones -- without complications.
In the hospital, the physical therapist leads me through balance exercises every day. Because of the neuropothy in my feet, I am unable to walk a straight line with heel to toe. I have told the PT that I want a laminated card for my wallet (like the card that hip replacement patients receive in order to get through airport security checks) to inform police that I am not drunk. If stopped and asked to walk a straight line, I can't. Where is the balance in all of this sick, get well soon, sicker, cancer-free, relapse, cancer survivor, lost the battle with cancer world?
God has not abandoned any of us on 7 east. I see evidence of so many present to alleviate and comfort human suffering. A woman comes in every day, bows her head, wipes my windows and floor, empties the baskets and dusts the sills. The attending doc comes in with a flurry of first and second year fellow students, PA and visitors peering at the numbers and the person in the bed.
Help me to find my way between the poles of shouting "look at me, I'm alive" and the tendency to stay quiet and un-noticed. May I rejoice in the mission statement of Christ found in Luke 4:18 - 19: The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because God has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. God has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor. May all of us prisoners on 7 east be released, our sight restored and the year of the Lord's favor be found in each new day.