Progressive Faith Blog Con
Jews kick ass.

Small prayers

I have heard, more times than I can count, the story of my origins. How my parents made the decision to have a fifth child. How I was born ten weeks early, weighing hardly more than three pounds. How my weight dropped to a pound and a half before, at last, it began to rise.

I remember my mother's sneaky tricks to fatten me up: milkshakes made with ice cream, honey, banana, a raw egg for extra protein. I remember the party that was promised me when I finally broke fifty pounds. I remember being photographed as a nine-year-old for the cover of the neonatal unit newsletter, a success story because I thrived.

Earlier this week I spent some time in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit praying over a little girl who's one week old. She weighs one pound, and seeing her tiny form helps me understand what it must have been like for my parents to see their daughter weighing so little, trembling and adorned with tubes thin as wires in that glass box.

I spent some time, too, in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit with a weeping mother whose month-old child has never breathed without a respirator. I said prayers over both of them, and cupped this little one's head with my palm, wishing for health and wholeness, and knowing that that particular prayer is unlikely to be answered.

Thinking about the sorrowing parents of these sick infants, I remembered again that there is nothing we should take for granted. My spirits were low until, walking down the long hall, I ran into a nurse I've come to recognize over my nights here. "How you doing, Sister," she asked me, smiling.

"I'm okay, how about you?"

"I'm well, praise the Lord," she said, and we passed and went on our way. And I thought: despite all of the suffering contained within these walls, it's still our responsibility to offer praise.

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