This is a repost, but one worth reading:
It was 3:22AM and my eyelids had been closed for just long enough for my mind to settle itself into sleep when I was jolted awake by the buzzing of my pager..."19y/o male eta 5min" Checking the mirror to get rid of my bedhead I turned the light off to the on-call room and made the very lonely trek down the hallway towards the ED. I was mid-way through my Chaplaincy residency by then and I knew this walk well as I made the familiar turns in silence I prayed that I would be God's hands, feet and mouth in whatever the situation was.
I arrived, along with all the others "on-call" before the ambulance. All the staff were busy preparing and setting things up; or were standing around chatting with the others about previous cases. I was too tired, I had already had a busy night of pages and the comfortable bed I just abandoned was calling me back; I questioned if my presence was really needed. But it was my duty to stand in that sterile back room of the emergency department waiting for this young kid to arrive, it was my job to provide the spiritual and sometimes social services needs that might arise. So there I was leaning in the corner as the intensity of the moment of arrival drew near.
As the stretcher came crashing through the double doors and the Emergency responders started to bark out the answers the doctors questions the gravity of this young man danger became clear to me. He was dying. He had suffered cardiac arrest in the ambulance and they had only managed to get a faint heartbeat back. The blood that he had lost from his wounds was everywhere and the stench of stale blood was beginning to over power the sterile hospital smell. Then within seconds the machines were going off and his heart stopped. The doctors and nurses descended into action on him like a well practiced ballet - beautifully and with such rhythm they worked on bringing life back to this young man. And as I watched in the stillness praying for God's will to be done, I heard a familiar sound that gave me goose bumps: the crack of bones, and not just knuckles, but this young mans ribs were being opened and within a blink the head doctor was pumping a heart in his hands. As his hand opened and closed the machines started to beep and measure a heart beat. They rushed the young man down for surgery, leaving the evidence of blood in the space for the bed. I was left bewildered and in awe.
He did die in surgery and as the rest of the night began to unfold the picture of his life became more uncertain. Who was this 19 year old and how did he get to the point of being in our emergency department?
There were a lot of assumptions being made and a lot of judgments being passed out. And the reality for me is that some things still remain very uncertain about thus kid and will never be solved. If only I could have know what happen that night and where things went so wrong - but I will not.
You see we can't walk in someone else's shoes. No one experiences life the same way as another - except maybe identical twins. But the realities of our own life very much depend on the our own interpretations and on how we see things. Had I only heard about that extent to which the doctors tried to save this young man, holding and pumping his heart with their hands I would perhaps not have believed it, or perhaps not been as impacted.
We make a lot of assumptions when we don't consider the shoes that the other is wearing. And in the end we usually hurt them more then we help. But you see what has always been the lesson out of my story, is that before the judgment started - everything possible happened to help save this young kid. It didn't matter what had brought him into the hospital he was going to get the VERY best treatment and given the best chance for survival.
Too often we just assume to know what it is like for another person, even if they have shared their story. Too often we just assume and dish out judgment before first offering our best.
Let us offer first our best - the LOVE that God commands. Let us first offer our Christian selves showing and demonstrating the very best of our own Christian morals before we begin to assume that we know what it is like to walk in their shoes and before we dish out judgment on people lives who we often only see a short glimpse of.