Friday, July 28, 2017

Universal Diversity

I have visited hundreds, perhaps thousands of patients in many different hospitals over the past fifty years of my ministry.  My first hand experience as an adult patient in a hospital, however, was exactly one overnight stay about 23 years ago, until my recent three night stay.  Three visits have been made to an Emergency Room (dehydration, cracked ribs and a bout with vertigo) and I’ve had one experience in a Shock Trauma unit (after Humpty Dumpty [me] fell off the wall [roof] and needed some putting back together again. The “unexpected” patient status a few days ago was a time of new insight, awareness, and growth, as all unexpected surprises or happenings are meant to be.   

The  University of Maryland Hospital system is like the university itself.  The hospital is a gathering of many different professionals (schools, vocations, skills, etc.) under one roof,  so to speak—physicians, surgeons, physician assistants, nurses (of different levels of responsibility) technicians of all kinds (those who take a patient’s vital signs to  those who fix whatever is broken) receptionists, housekeepers, dietitians, cooks, radiologists, and the list goes on and on.  Hospitals are a kind of universe (“a whole world”) and like the real world, the hospital universe is diverse.  Not only is it diverse in terms of different and unique skills, but also diverse in terms of national origin, color, religion, socioeconomic stratum, sexual orientation, etc.  The physicians, Emily, Heidi, Marsha, Jane, Jack, Tina, Evelyn, Cynthia, Johnathan, Lucenzia, JoAnn, Blair, Isatou—and all the others—from India, Cameroon, Australia, England, Gambia, Canada, and other distant places around the world were there to serve and to care.  The hospital could not do its job without this diversity—it could not be a universe without its diversity.  

I do not know if the many who worked together to meet the needs of their patients had any personal connection with each other once they left the hospital or not.  I only know that at the hospital they worked as a team, recognized the importance of each team member, and respected one another.  Without this kind of universal diversity (diverse in every way) we cannot do what needs to be done to build a better world.  As broken and frail bodies are healed by such a rainbow coalition in a hospital (the whole world coming together for that very purpose) so our broken and frail world can be healed by similar actions.

Sunset over the Aegean Sea

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