These are dollies. More than a hundred will be heading to a tent-city of 60,000 in Haiti next week. There are a lot of kids there who have lost more than their dollies, so the folks at church made something for them to hold on to. The dollies are designed with open arms, so they may even be placed around the necks of those who can’t hug back.
At Mom’s church, St. Luke’s Episcopal in Sequim, parishioners do things directly. The majority of them are older, as is much of the population of Sequim. I think once you reach a certain age and (hopefully) level of maturity, many of our complicated biases slough off like dead skin after a shower. You can perceive need and act upon it without getting caught up in illusory political or religious differences. This is the social justice aspect of Christianity I support without hesitation. When you come across someone hungry, you don’t wait for God to do it, YOU feed ‘em. And because we can’t live by bread alone, you must open your arms to offer comfort.
I’ve written before about how much I admire Francis of Assisi. Francis was not very verbose. He was busy doing the right thing. When he did pause to say something, it was profound. Along these lines he said “Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.” He also said “Proclaim the Gospel at all times; use words if necessary.” They often aren’t necessary. Something to hold on to means more if you are hurting.
They also make quilts at the church to send to those in military service. One of the ladies tearfully told us about what one quilt meant for a young soldier. He had returned from overseas in bad shape. Because of the severity of his injuries, he was in as sterile an environment as possible, so they hung the quilt on the wall within his view. The young man’s survival was doubtful. He was transferred to different rooms, then different hospitals. The quilt followed, as did the prayers of those who sent it for him. It waited on the wall. Beyond all expectations, the young man emerged from a coma, pointed at the quilt and said the only word heard from him since his return, “Mine”. The quilt was brought to him, and he has been holding on. His caregivers now believe he will be able to re-learn to talk.
I don’t try to explain miracles. In health care, we have to do our work as if they don’t occur. We’ve all seen them though. People who should be dead don’t die. Some even recover. Some who you would expect to die in agony are allowed to go in peace. Some get a gift of a well-timed lucid moment in which to say good-bye. Some gain great understanding in the midst of their suffering. But many are too frightened, not knowing what will happen. We try to help manage their pain and fear. And we open our arms.