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Some things can't be fixed.

Summer Stiers is a 31-year old woman from Oregon who receives electrical brain stimulation to ward off seizures and is on nightly dialysis. For more than twenty years, she has sought a diagnosis for her illness, to no avail.

Recently, Ms. Stiers was accepted into the Undiagnosed Diseases Program at the National Institutes for Health in Maryland, where she would be seen by a team of specialists from nearly all of the 27 NIH research institutions. The program database has 6,600 conditions for which doctors have no diagnosis or cure. Each patient accepted into the program--a handful each week--comes with a hope that breakthroughs will be found for themselves and for others with similar conditions. So far, for Ms. Stiers, they are still searching.

Some things, it seems, can't be fixed--we simply "see in a mirror, darkly." This is frustrating, exhausting, and frightening for those living with such things--and there are many who watch and wait.

Throngs of people are

* waiting to see what will happen with treatment for a serious illness

* hoping and praying for an organ transplant to come through in time

* working with a special needs child whose future is uncertain

* wondering if one's job will be saved in the coming weeks and months

* worrying about losing (or finding) health insurance

Also wrenching is the pain of those who have recently experienced losses that they cannot change--the loss of a job that once provided income and friends; the loss of physical or mental ability through terminal illness; or the loss of a loved one through a tragic death.

Some things can't be fixed or even changed. But through all things we are held in love by the God who will not let us go. The Apostle Paul, writing to the church in Rome, asked worried people who also were watching and waiting at a time of crisis and fear:

"Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship, or sickness, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril? ... Nothing will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Roman 8:35,38).

The Rev. Dr. Reinhold Niebuhr (before suffering a stroke late in life), wrote the Serenity Prayer, which closes with the words, "And the wisdom to know the difference."

Some things we can fix ... give us the wisdom to make a difference, Lord. Some things we can't fix ... some day we will fully understand. For now, Lord, grant us wisdom. And thank you for your love from which no loss can sever us, now and forever.


Rev. Dr. Deborah Patterson

Executive Director

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Author:Patterson, Deborah
Publication:Parish Nurse Perspectives
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jan 1, 2009
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