My heart is so very full today and at the same time broken. I'll write about the fullness first. I've just come from the first Dress Ceremony on the Africa Mercy. Three women were presented with new African dresses just before going home, now 2 weeks post-VVF repair. I happened to walk into the room where they were getting ready and they were all putting on their dresses and head wraps. At first I thought there was something wrong and then realized that it was squeals of delight I was hearing. It sounded like girls at home getting ready for the prom.
All of the staff and other patients gathered in one of the wards and the drums, singing and dancing was started down the all by the princesses for the day. They paraded down the hall dancing and singing with bright smiles on their faces. Once they got to the ward the party really started and there was a long time of singing, dancing, and praising. Nearly everyone in the room was either beaming with delight or moved to tears and unable to sing. Each of the ladies then took the opportunity to offer their thanks to God for His faithfulness after many years of living in the condition that they were. I have to say that is definitely the most fun I've ever had at work, and it wasn't even my shift! To hear their stories is such a humbling experience because of the emotional and physical pain that they've endured makes any complaint I could come up with pale in comparison. That brings me to the broken-hearted part.
About 10 minutes before the ceremony started I had to go to the ward to look something up, and I ran into Jianjay, who had the second VVF repair here on the ship. I asked how she was feeling and with a smile she said that she feels well, but the urine still keeps coming. I had no words to say to comfort her other than how terribly sorry I am. I know from things that she said in the ward that she trusts in God, but today my heart felt so heavy for her. When I went to the dress ceremony, she was sitting there on the bed of one of the other patients, still finding a way to smile and singing in worship. Even though she did not have a successful repair, she's still grateful for the things God has done for her. Some days it's just so hard trying to reconcile the happy and the sad.