At this time of year before the holidays there is a feeling of a sense of renewal
One of the things that helped me in this sense of renewal and the reminder that our work as medical clowns at Hadassah is important and significant is the special visit that was made by Yazid refugees;- brave guys with a huge heart. They arrived at Hadassah two months ago as a medical team in the refugee camps in northern Iraq and were trained as medical clowns to implement the work in clinics and hospitals and to teach and train more clowns there.
It was a reminder for all to see things in perspective, to thank all the good we have and open our hearts more and more – It is not a given that people in distress will want to give of themselves to other people. Giving itself is an empowering blessing – something that leads me to our story today, where the medical clown, Shiri Breuer, gave a place that allowed a sick, hospitalized child who had difficulty and distress to give of herself and share with the clown something she had to give. Because there is always something that can be given and shared.
“The anger that turned to gold” – the story of Sponga (Shiri), medical clown at Hadassah
While walking through the oncology ward, I was drawn to the sound of crying. It was the cry of a relatively older girl, a loud, prolonged cry. I walked through the hallways following the sound, wondering where it came from.
At the end of the ward there is an isolation treatment room. Towards the end of the room, there is a large, closed glass door. On the other side of the door sat a father, a nurse and a girl of about 12, in the middle of a blood test.
The girl was crying with her eyes closed.
The father was concentrating on her, calling her name and the nurse was also very busy … They did not see me. I saw them.
Somewhere behind them, through the locked door, I took out the magic trick of a spot of light. The father saw it first, and responded enthusiastically. He tried to get the daughter interested, but she remained crying with her eyes closed. At some point I ate the light, he was astonished and asked for an explanation, “This is medicine,” I explained to him. He asked for one as well. I threw the imaginary drug through the glass door and he grabbed it! The crying stopped, eyes opened.
We continued to play with the light, and the daughter asked to taste the wonder drug that is passing through the glass.The examination was over, and the nurse left with a smile, after of course she also had a taste from the imagined drug. Suddenly, in one moment, the laughter disappeared and the daughter grew sad. The father asked, “what happened sweetie? why are you angry?” She did not answer, holding onto her anger. The father continued to coax, but it did not help. She just shut herself up and closed her eyes. His face fell. He began buttoning her sweater. She sat there like a statue with her eyes closed. His movements are heavy. It was a touching moment. The father is full of worry and love for his daughter. I looked at that moment and remembered how hard it was to be human, and how much power a loving heart had.
While I was looking, I could not ignore the special buttons of the girl’s sweater, they were decorated with glitter and gold. I knocked on the door and asked where she got so much gold and diamonds. She opened her eyes. It reached her. I continued to stare at her, and she smiled. There was a door between us, and I tried to steal the diamonds from her like a thief.
She laughed, keeping all her gold and diamond buttons to herself with great pleasure. As the game progressed I noticed the connection between the anger she had kept for herself earlier and the gold she was keeping now, and I had the feeling that we were on the right track. So, I stopped trying to steal (it was getting exhausting…) and turned to her heart. Slowly I began to beg for her gold. She looked at me with a huge smile, pantomiming taking gold and diamonds from her clothes and imaginatively threw it through the door, the way we threw the imaginary drug.
I gratefully accepted the gift and put it in my pocket. I felt that she had given me something precious, we parted with declarations of love, hugs and kisses through the glass door.
With a Blessing of Shana Tova- a happy New Year, full of giving to ourselves and those around us, and renewal from the existing and the present.
In love, Nechama (Bula Bola) and the medical clowns team of Hadassah Israel 🙂