I lived in San Antonio for almost 10 years and enjoyed my time there with great friends and a rewarding job. My brother and sister-in-law lived in Houston so it was a trip we made often. News of Hurricane Harvey was devastating. Although I no longer have relatives there, I still have many friends who were impacted by the winds and floods.
My company, HCA has a number of hospitals in the area and more than 14,000 employees. I’d immediately donated to our Hope Fund where HCA will match up to $1 million. Our Hope Fund is money donated from our employees which then awards grants to other employees in time of need. This was in addition to the $1 million HCA had already donated to the American Red Cross.
I felt I should do more than just send a check. I checked my calendar and vacation time balance and submitted my name as a healthcare worker that could be mobilized to assist. We were already sending nurses from across the country, and I hoped that my skills as a pharmacist would be utilized. On Thursday evening I got the email. “Thanks for volunteering, what is your availability?”
The rest of the evening was spent cataloguing what I needed to do to leave on short notice. Everything was part of my routine life but included boarding my dog, my food delivery on Wednesday each week, a package I’d ordered from Dillards, the trash pickup on Monday, and more. I was amazed at how “busy” my life is with routine things.
Friday morning, I submitted my license information and said that I could leave as early as Saturday afternoon for a week. I could also do any 7 day stretch throughout September.
The email came back within the hour, “Thanks for your availability. They don’t need any Pharmacists right now. We’ll keep your name on file.”
I understand how disruptive it can be to have untrained personnel trying to “help”, but what I was amazed at most was my reaction: I was devastated that I wasn’t needed. I’ve spend my whole career encouraging recognition for pharmacists as vital members of the healthcare team and I wanted to do something useful in the midst of a crisis. How could they not need help?
In examining my overreaction, I realized it was the same feeling that I had in 2007 when I was looking for a mission trip at my church. After six months of dead ends, a friend told me about a trip to South Africa at her church which was a different denomination. I went on that trip in October 2007 and my life has been forever changed.
The Rev. Michael Blaess preached on Exodus 3:1-15 in Sunday's sermon. Michael talked about how God uses people like Moses to do His work. And the characteristic that God wants most in His people: patience.
Today, I am thankful that the door to Houston was closed. I believe that God is telling me to be patient; there is something else coming that He needs me to do.
Blessings, my friend,