From every corner of the world, we see the need for justice and the gaping wounds of injustice. Each service year, Ministry Volunteers commit to practicing God’s justice, and they learn about what that looks like through the other four ministry pillars. Through relationships built in service or their neighborhoods, volunteers learn about reciprocity, simplicity, injustice, and accompaniment through the lens of spiritual growth. Read a reflection below from a BSVM alumna as she shares a story of pain, compassion, and justice from her service year.
A Cry for Justice
By Yeti Olajide, BSVM ’13-’14
Being a volunteer provides a special opportunity to walk with others—with patients or clients, with co-workers, and with fellow volunteers. In the walking and in the sharing of our stories, we hold each other. We celebrate our successes big or small, we support each other in hard times, and we lift each other when we can’t lift ourselves. In doing this, although sometimes it’s hard, we embody God’s justice for His community in our lives.
Not too long ago, as I was walking alongside one of my co-workers, I came to realize that the same justice I was learning to know in the Scriptures was present in my daily life. In my department, like all departments in our hospital, patient well-being is the primary goal. If a patient needs a resource—whether that is a new home or an appointment to see their primary care physician once they leave the hospital—we work to see that they are connected to that resource.
As I was walking with my co-worker, we came across a situation where a patient was discharged without proper care and was unnecessarily left to fend for herself. In recognition of this injustice, my co-worker was brought to tears. Not tears of pity or tears of sadness, but tears of pain.
Her tears signified the injustice done by our team to the patient. Her tears told the story of how passion to help others and to be there for others can lead you to a place where the injustice which breaks them, breaks you too. As she spoke out against the wrong that was done to this patient, through her tears, she named her own faults. Through her tears, she called out that this patient could have been her mother, her sister, or her daughter. She promised to never treat a patient as if he or she was a number or a statistic. She promised to always strive to wholly care for each and every patient.
As I comforted my co-worker and listened to her, I recognized her tears and her pain for the patient as an image of God’s justice. In our ministries and our formation, we have learned that God’s justice is fidelity to right relationship. When we see that things are not right, we have a desire and a passion to restore love and community. Through her tears and her anger over the mistreatment of our patient, my co-worker released her cry for justice.
Her cry voiced my belief that our desire for justice, in our world and in our own lives, comes from our desire to love. In my ministry, I have learned that justice, or the desire to love rightly, is rooted deep within us and is a desire to love all people as members of our one human family. As I walked in service this year, I experienced how this deep desire for justice informs us to be God’s body and the active hands and feet of Christ in the world.
(This reflection was published in the Summer 2014 issue of The Bon Secours Beacon, now The Companion)