Tuesday, August 13, 2002

The Better Half and I had a nice debriefing session tonight. It's not been easy for us these past few days.

But now I want to address my topic-du-jour, and this time, I want it to be for the last time. WYD.
My very wise friend Marian sent me an email today. I just re-read it, and, giving what the Better Half and I talked about, I feel one statement in particular is most relevant for me to have a sense of closure.
She writes: If I were you, I think I'd be asking myself how much the behaviors of the Church and my fellow worshippers really mattered concerning my own relationship with

I was at the Opening Ceremony in Toronto. It was mobbed. People were constantly moving, trying to get up close to the front towards the stage, in attempts to get close to the Pope. I can only describe it as a giant mosh pit without the music. The boys wanted to get closer, and mainly I was just trying to stay with them and not get trampled.
Suddenly, John said, "Hey Jenn, that girl doesn't look so good."
She was small, couldn't have been more than 15 years old. She was lying on the ground, surrounded by members of her group. She was pale, shaking, and she looked like she was in a lot of pain. At first I thought it was heat stroke. I knelt down and took her temperature. It was normal. Her pulse was fine. I noticed her group had a sign that said that they were from Lausanne, Switzerland. One of the girls in the group spoke English. She told me that this little girl had been sitting down, shielding herself with an umbrella from the sun, as everyone tromped around her. She was kicked in the head by a passerby. The person's foot had gone through the fabric of the umbrella. One of the metal rods of the umbrella had also struck her head. The translator showed me the gaping hole in the umbrella and the bent rod. The child had no blood, but a lump the size of a quarter on the side of her head. At that point, I took out an ice pack from my first aid kit. All that was going though my mind was, "potential head injury." At first the group resisted, and the little girl started to cry because she didn't want to go to the hospital and risk missing the Pope's entrance. Her friends calmed her, and David told me it was either this child stays where she was, or we call 911. I realized I couldn't let this go with just my okay. She needed better medical attention than I could give her with a ziplocked first aid kit. "Call them," I said.

All the while this was going on, people continued to step over this girl. Finally at one point, members of her group had to say, in broken English, "this girl is injured. Please, step back. Please, don't come further. Please walk around." The child ended up being lifted over a fence by John and some of the boys in the child's Swiss group, to safety of awaiting EMTs. I don't know what happened to her. One of the members in her group thanked me and said, "it is better this way. No one will step on her."

There were over 500,000 at that ceremony that day. At least 200 people were standing nearby, and at least that many had walked past this child, saw her lying on the ground, probably saw me adminstering first aid. Out of all that crowd, only one person offered assistance to me and this child. One person. I've carried the frustration of that fact for too long.

My Better Half told me tonight, "You lived the Gospel through your actions that day, and everyday that you help someone." He and Marian help me realize that as far as what really matters was that special thing between me and The Big Man Upstairs was okay. It never wasn't okay. I didn't have anything to worry about. Seeing the Pope was nice, but it did not make me whole or fulfilled. Helping that child made me feel whole and fulfilled. I am damn lucky because I get that feeling of wholeness and fulfillment on a daily basis, through my nursing. I can't control what other people do. I don't want to, because it's frustrating and pointless. I realize I can only focus on myself, and strive for that feeling.

Hey Marian...thanks. :)
Johnny, I love you too!

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