Navigation Menu+

asking why. . .

Posted on Nov 5, 2017 by in Uncategorized | 3 comments

It was midnight. . . I had been at my patient’s bedside for 5 hours, doing everything I could to bring up her oxygen, to give her comfort, to comfort her mother, to hope for another miracle after 8 months of miracles.  Holding the breathing tube open between my forefingers, I rested my head on the bed for a minute.

The Maasai mom in the next bed looked at me quizzically and kindly.  She speaks neither English nor Swahili, so our communication was limited, but I could imagine what she was thinking. . .

“Why, why is this American in this room right now, at midnight? Why is at the bedside talking to that tiny baby, arranging her blankets, obsessively checking the oxygen and heart rate. . .”

I was asking myself the same question, actually. I knew there was nowhere else I would possibly be at that moment, but the why. I discussed a patient in casualty and one in the NICU with our clinical officer while I continued to hold her trach in place, waiting for the surgeons to come secure it. Everything seemed surreal at that moment, perhaps because of my exhaustion. Why here, now, in this moment, in Kijabe at this bedside?

No specific answer came – except that this is the person and the place where God has me for this moment.

We were watching Wonderwoman last night with the girls, and the pilot is asked why he is fighting. . .why he continues to try to stop the inevitable war. . . He says, “I don’t know, but I guess I’ve got to try. . . My father told me once, when you see something wrong happening in the world you can either do nothing, or you can do something, and I tried doing nothing. . .”

Sometimes in medicine, I feel like my training and experience have taught me what to do. But some days, situations are new an unpredictable, and I have to trust that because I am the person in that place at that time, that what is asked of me is to try. To do something, not nothing.

So, I found myself quoting Wonderwoman when talking to a friend about why we do what we do. . .a reason to stay up night after night, to see patient after patient, to train, to share, to pour out when I am at my end.

“For I know, that only Love can truly save the World. So I stay, I fight, and I give, for the world I know can be. . .”


  1. Surely God is smiling on you! Thank you!

    Love, Phyllis

  2. Thanks for writing! I loved reading this and believe you are so right! I have had the same realization in my work and ministry. I feel like God taught me that it is worth it. He is worth it. God is worthy of our service and suffering. Even when we work so hard and love so hard to see what we consider little results, it is worth it. Even though it’s painful to see the need and suffering of others it is worth it to take part in God’s work of redeeming and restoring. Even when the task seems impossible and it would be easier to ignore it than to face it, it is worth the energy to help even one small part of the problem. Thank you so much for loving and serving those children and families!

  3. Dear Physician, wife, mother and, most importantly-Jesus seeker, know that you are heard and seen as you share your journey. Today was the first time I hit this site-God’s timing. Stopped, and prayed for you and your speaking engagements, first one tomorrow. May you, your family and your work be blessed. Irene

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *