Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Brokenhearted

When I was about 10 years old, I decided I wanted to work with children with cancer. My interests changed over the years but this one idea always stuck with me.  Twenty years later God has placed me in my dream job: a mix of pediatric hematology and oncology patients.  I know many people wouldn't want my job but, for whatever reason, it is a perfect fit.  (Please don't tell me I'm a special person for doing this work. I'm pretty sure I couldn't do your job- this just happens to be mine.)

My job draws from my social work skills, my personal life, and my previous background in hospice and bereavement.  Most of the children I work with are either headed toward remission or have stable disease.

But not all of them.

And though my heart is heavy with this knowledge, I am driven to walk that road with their loved ones.

This week especially I am glad that I do not walk this road alone.  This verse continues to come to mind.
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.                        -Psalm 34:18
Brokenhearted. Crushed in spirit.  Apt descriptions of parents, of families that are forced to let go of a child they love.  Even if the prognosis is good, no one imagines learning about their child's chemo and radiation treatments.  It's a brand-new world of information parents never wanted to know.

I know this is what I am meant to be doing but sometimes I feel so helpless.  I can only do so much.  I can't cure their child.  When faced with raw grief at the point of diagnosis, my gifting doesn't seem like much.  As my friends are quick to remind me, my gifting can help a horrible situation be a little less horrible.

So when I meet with parents and listen to their fears and concerns or when I'm talking to a patient about facing their disease or even death, I am doing something. I can't prevent the worse from happening but I can help shoulder the burden.  I can listen. I can counsel.  I can help them find resources.

I don't often share about my professional world here. However, the magnitude of what I do has really sunk in this week. It is one thing to envision yourself working with terminally ill children and it is another to be doing it.  I hate that families need my services because no one wants to be in that position.  The reality is that until a cure is found, children will continue to be diagnosed with cancer and families will continue needing support to get through it, no matter what the outcome may be.

I know I am exactly where I am meant to be.  I can only pray that God will give me the words to say or the wisdom to stay quiet. Pray that these families will have quality time together. Pray that God will comfort them. Pray that no matter what happens, they will be drawn them closer to Him and know that He is close to them.

1 comment:

  1. In these difficult, lonely places you are His hands & feet, Leigh. As you draw your comfort from the great Comforter He will comfort these precious ones through you. We pray daily for you in this regard. God bless you, sweetheart, & give you His strength & all you need to do the work He's called you to. May you sense His presence & partnership. And for those time when you don't, may you lean on Him even harder, knowing that His Word is true---He IS close to YOU when YOUR heart is broken for these kids & their families. It's often in our weakness that He pours out of us & into the lives of others in ways we can only attribute to Him. You are definitely on Holy ground. Sending a hug & prayers to you tonight, my beautiful daughter. I love you... Mom

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