Sunday, January 15, 2012

MLK jr Birthday Reflection

Today I lament because of blisters. Blisters in and of themselves are worth lamenting over, because they're rather painful and annoying. I happen to have two matching blisters, one on each foot, thanks to a 9.5 mile run I did this morning.

But these blisters are causing me to lament over the sad reality of privilege and racism in our society, especially how I participate in that system.

Yes, going from blisters to racism is a rather big leap, but allow me to explain. I went to the drugstore to purchase some type of moleskin to alleviate my blister situation. There were only a few options, the best one being a product from Dr. Scholl's. Here is a picture of the packaging:

Do you notice the "Nearly invisible" phrase on the box? Well, it isn't false advertising. If you're Caucasian. This blister bandage really does blend in to my peachy flesh. Which is nice, because it doesn't draw unwanted attention to my feet. But if your skin is darker, say a lovely shade of black, this bandage isn't going to be invisible on your skin. It will be quite apparent. Just like most of the other bandages on the shelves of drugstores and in the supply rooms of hospitals.

Our society still defines the norm for skin color as white. And so these bandage makers get away with declaring that their products blend in, nearly invisibly, when applied to skin. I lament because I participate in this system which perpetuates privilege. By purchasing this product, I have said "yes" to racism. I have done my part to perpetuate injustice.

A few decades after MLKjr's time, we've come a long way. But we've got a long way to go.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Chaplain Tears

It took four days, just four, for this class to lead me to tears. I held it in those first three days but this day, this less than stellar fourth day caused me to cry tonight.

There wasn't anything particularly awful about today. I did rounds on both my units, met with a few patients. Encountered a patient who is Southern Baptist and was clearly offended by the idea of an ovary-bearing-soon-to-be-ordained-chaplain. I brushed that off, realizing this isn't about me.

It's about the patients. It's about these people who are lying in their hospital beds, immersed in anguish and pain. Facing terminal diagnoses and transfers to places where they will likely die. This is about them. It's about being, encouraging and praying.

I pray for strength to carry through the next three weeks of this course. As I wake up each day, uncertain of what the hours hold for me, I pray. And I hope that my interactions with these patients is nurturing. That they will glean some comfort. That I will do more good than harm. It's a tricky thing, this chaplain business.