Faith & Amazing People

bridgetofall

I hate when you get a hair cut and no matter how much the hairdresser blow dries your neck, and even if you go home and strip down naked and brush yourself completely off with a towel… it always feels like you are wearing a turtleneck made of human hair.

This post is not about hair cuts, or wearing clothing made of human hair.  It is a brief thought on faith.  My thoughts on faith.  If this essay were about Catholic faith and takled about the saints, most specifically St. Francis of Assisi then yes, we could talk about turtlenecks of human hair.   St. Francis had a thing for wearing garments made of human hair.  That was his way of saying “I love you” to God. 

I am nervous to write about faith since I have spent my whole life doubting God exists.  I grew up secular, not a hint of religion in our family.  On top of that – my grandfather – the most influential person in my life, was a scientist.  He had a very pragmatic view of the world, in his mind if it could not be proven scientifically, it did not exist.

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Like every other person on earth, excluding some monks living on a mountain in Bhutan.  Check that – all the people living in Bhutan.  The rest of us fear death. Which is totally ok.  It’s scary to think about not existing.  Apparently religion helps you live with that fear.   Believing that a) God will take care of you or b) God has created this awesome after life place for you to go to, where you get to meet all your deceased family and friends.  And you can eat all the pasta you want and not get fat.  (I stole that from Albert Brooks).

I have no idea why I am here, or where I am going.  Like my grandfather, I have not been able to grasp the concept of a singular God.  Maybe religion is not for all of us.  For me, faith feels bigger than a singular God.  Faith, spirituality seem different, and less likely to get people to start a war.

My faith is people.  Faith in the fact that no matter who you pray to or even if you do pray, that there are some amazing, giving, loving, caring, compassionate people in the world.  There doesn’t seem to be one religion that owns all the awesome people.  

bandonsunsetThese amazing people run into burning buildings, jump into rivers to save kittens, or simply smile and acknowledge a homeless person. Maybe for all these people this is their way to say “I love you” to God.   I don’t know.  Do you know?  

 

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The True Spirit of Christmas

We have had quite a stretch of wintry weather in Portland over the past week.  When the snow started to fall on Wednesday it started an epic traffic jam throughout the city.

I work at a 523 bed hospital on the west side of the city.  There is a range of hills between the hospital and downtown.  There are limited ways up and over those hills – and Wednesday afternoon’s snowfall combined with everyone desperately trying to get home exactly at 3:00 was too much.

Tales of commutes taking 7-8 hours were common.  Just getting off our campus was taking hours since all the streets surrounding the hospital were jammed.  At one point I went to the parking lot and hospital roads with a big bag of treats to keep these poor souls fed.  I handed out over 200 treats to grateful colleagues.

I was helping with logistics of getting critical clinical staff into work or finding a bed for those who were staying the night.  I witnessed how hard our support teams work to make sure our employees, our guests and our patients are taken care of.  In this blog post I have included pictures of some of those amazing people.

When we realized people couldn’t get home – our kitchen staff went to work cooking up pans and pans of macaroni and cheese.  For guests who couldn’t pay – we gladly gave them a free meal.  We shuttled staff and guests to the nearest transit center so they could get a train home.  Our linen team put together overnight packs with sheets, blankets, towels and toiletry items.

This isn’t my first winter storm event while working at the hospital but it goes down as one of the most memorable and the most heart warming.  The spirit of Christmas is alive and well.