Hoops and Kelly

  • July 20, 2017
  • #9189

Those who work hard to ease suffering in the world, both spiritually and physically, are to be commended. 

Hoops and Kelly

Hi, I’m Joni Eareckson Tada with a story to encourage you.

My friend, Dr. Bill, is a surgeon who takes on tough cases—most of the people who come to him are in dire straits. And he works long, hard hours to save lives. He recently told me about a young paraplegic woman who developed a serious pressure wound which became infected. Before long, other pressure wounds appeared, and even though she was given massive doses of antibiotics, to no avail, she became septic. By the time this paraplegic woman was almost in hospice, the most Dr. Bill could do was irrigate her wounds as best he could. He wrote me an email saying, “Joni, this woman is so gracious, such a sweet person. She has an amazing husband, and it hurt me so to think that we could not do more. I just wish I could have done more.”

Dr. Bill’s ministry with this woman, who had many pressure sores, immediately reminded me of a true story from World War II recounted in the book, Band of Brothers. It’s about two young medics, Hoops and Kelly. I may have my names switched here, but as I recall, both medics were on Okinawa in the heat of the battle. Bullets were flying and the two medics were working non-stop to save lives. At one point, Hoops raised his head above the ditch to catch his breath and, in an instant, this young man took a bullet through his Adam's apple. He fell back and began bleeding profusely. His buddy, Kelly, left the soldier he was working on and began working feverishly to stop the flow of blood from Hoops’ neck. Hoops kept his eyes riveted on Kelly as Kelly reached into his friend's neck with forceps to clamp the gushing artery. But it was too slippery. Hoops just kept his eyes fixed on his friend, Kelly, who in turn, kept frantically telling his medic-buddy to hang on, hang on, all the while unable to make the clamp. Finally, as the blood flow lessened and Hoops grew pale with his eyes becoming dim, Hoops reached up and patted Kelly softly on the arm, as if to say, "It's okay buddy. It's okay; I know you’ve tried." And Hoops became one more casualty that day on Okinawa. I can't tell that story without crying, even now, because life is so hard.

As I told my friend Dr. Bill, I said, “Bill, people like you, those who tend the wounds of desperately critical patients, people like you are like Kelly. Answers for all the suffering won't be unveiled until the other side of eternity, but for now, for all the suffering we go through here, you have tried and you’ve tried your best to lessen it, to make it better. You try to save as many lives as you can. And that is commendable.”

What is true in war and in hospitals, like Dr. Bill’s, is true in life. People are perishing all around us. Yes, some physically through injuries and illnesses, or other tragedies, but even more are perishing spiritually. So although you may be working feverishly to lessen suffering in this world and yet seeing few results for your efforts, keep working. Thank you for giving it your all; don’t stop; do your best, whether serving at a pregnancy resource center, a hospice, overseas on a battle field, as an EMT or a missionary doctor, an emergency room nurse, or in a drug rehab program. Wherever people are perishing, thank you for giving them the life-saving message of salvation in Christ, and bless you for doing what you can to lessen the scourge of suffering in this world. Until Jesus returns, keep at it; keep working. Don’t give up because it’s commendable before all who look on, and before God.

© Joni and Friends


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