Bent on Kindness by Esther Nelson

Recently, with some fear and trepidation, I underwent spinal surgery.  When the surgeon visited me the day after my operation, he assured me that the procedure was a success, even though it will take several weeks to ascertain whether or not the surgery relieved my symptoms.  Healing from such a procedure takes time.

I have nothing but praise for the dozens of people responsible for my care during my six-day hospitalization.  Nurses, nursing care helpers, my surgeon along with the team in the operating suite, doctors-in-training, physical therapy workers, occupational therapy people, cleaning personnel, and the folks who regularly brought me healthy and delicious meals—all of them were respectful, empathetic, and kind.  And they were not kind just to me.  I overheard several hospital employees reply thoughtfully and considerately to a pugnacious patient in the room next to mine.

Continue reading “Bent on Kindness by Esther Nelson”

Looking for a Mouth to Tell the Story by Esther Nelson

In Chinua Achebe’s novel, THINGS FALL APART, Okonkwo, a proud, hard-working, albeit quick-tempered tribesman living in the village of Umuofia, fires a gun at Ekwefi, one of his three wives, almost killing her.  Chielo, a widow with two children, who also serves as the priestess of Agbala, Oracle of the Hills and Caves, asks Ekwefi, “Is it true that Okonkwo nearly killed you with his gun?”

Ekwefi replies, “It is true indeed, my dear friend.  I cannot yet find a mouth with which to tell the story.”

I love Ekwefi’s turn of phrase as she responds to Chielo.  Shaken, distraught, and outraged over being shot at by her fiery husband, she “cannot yet find a mouth with which to tell the story.”  That’s exactly how I feel these days.

Continue reading “Looking for a Mouth to Tell the Story by Esther Nelson”

Call Me the Devil, If You’d Like by Natalie Weaver

Call me the devil, if you’d like.

I have just completed the three-hour retreat at the church to prepare my son for his first communion.  It was a long morning, to be sure, but during that time I decide I want to try to bring the family all together.  I host such occasions often, at significant cost and personal effort, but I think it builds up love and community so I do it anyhow.  I go home and begin sending out invitations for the gathering.

At precisely the moment of my welcoming, I learn that I have, once again, been directly charged by so-and-so, because I have worked in a professional capacity and (I am not kidding, dear readers) because I have not had my children in T-ball and Rec Center sports. I am accused of self-aggrandizement because I go to professional conferences (to which I also take my children almost without exception).  I am charged with doing things for my own glory because I teach overloads and offer paid lecture series.

There is no acknowledgement that I work to eat and to earn income to support my children or that I have never had the option not to work outside the home.  I am furious, of course, because I have heard this in varying degrees over the length of my professional life and time as a parent, including once on Mother’s Day. I’m tired of the insult, but when I respond after years of such claims in outrage, I am accused of being too angry.

But, life goes on, and so does the gathering.  It’s a nice time, but after the gathering, I wake up to the boldly voiced disgruntlement of a friend who has been inadvertently insulted by a conversation that occurred at the table.  The insult is derived from the charge that I did not say the right words when I should have. There is a very strong critique and withering suggestion about my core values at stake, since the issue is racial.  I listen and apologize but am left wondering, “don’t you know me by now?”  Have you not dined with me, celebrated with me, felt my love and friendship, outreach and appreciation? I am stymied.  Am I here to be judged?

Continue reading “Call Me the Devil, If You’d Like by Natalie Weaver”

Health Care Woes by Anjeanette LeBoeuf

I was struggling to figure out a piece for this month’s post and what I kept coming back to is my healthcare journey and the uncertainty of the last year. My childhood does not contain memories of not supported medically. If I was sick as a child, my parents took me to the pediatrician, I went to the dentists bi-annually, and I even got connected to a dermatologist to help figure out my persistent struggle with acne as well as catching a mole before it became skin cancer. But that all changed when first I was kicked off my parents’ insurance plan due to age limit and further pushed into a medical coverage oblivion when I attended graduate school.

Continue reading “Health Care Woes by Anjeanette LeBoeuf”

IN THE NEWS: Health Care, Contraception, and Religion

A case brought forth by a mining company challenging the required coverage of contraception without a copay by employer health care plans was dismissed Friday in a Missouri court.  The mining company argued that the requirement was conflicting with its owners religious beliefs.  Continue reading “IN THE NEWS: Health Care, Contraception, and Religion”

%d bloggers like this: