Sunday, January 24, 2010

Through a Glass Darkly

"It's not our job to change people. It's our job to love them," Emmah sighed.

Our nurses have been distressed about well-intentioned people trying to effect change without first asking what change might actually be needed or wanted. Without careful communication, "systemic" change can be perceived as imposed "personal" change, and perception is all. Thanks to Emmah's gentle reminder, I realized that we have expectations of the change agents, just as they have expectations of us. Therein lay the problem: unmet needs related to unmatched reflections of "them" and "us."

The list is growing, but my recurrent life lessons include: (1) "It's not "either/or." It's "both/and." (2) It's not about "them and us." It's about "all of us." (3) It's not our job to change people -- wazungu, African or anyone else. It's our job to listen to and love one another.

Even in the bright Kenyan sun, seeing face-to-face is not easy. And it is certainly humbling. Thank you, Emmah, and thank you, God. It is time for morning rounds again, time to put one flip-flop in front of the other. It is time to listen and time to love.

1 comment:

Kim said...

Beautifully written and something I must remember.