A few weeks ago I had the privilege of traveling to China. The group I traveled with included a faculty representative from each of the College of Health Science disciplines (Social Work, Nursing, Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy), and 4 gentlemen who work at the Show Hope Foundation. The major purpose of the trip was for the Belmont CHS faculty to see the Show Hope operations in China and to explore possible ways our students could learn and serve there as a part of Show Hope, whether through short term mission trips or longer term clinical and field experiences.
When I tell people I went to China, most people are curious if we got to visit the Great Wall. We did! We were able to spend a day in Beijing before traveling back to the states, and we visited the wall from outside that city. It was, of course, an amazing experience to be able to climb part of it and walk along it. To think of how that structure was built before modernized tools, and how it still stands firmly today (at least in the place we visited) is really a testament to human capability. I am so glad I got to experience this, what a privilege! You can see all of our CHS disciplines represented in this picture from the Great Wall, at noon on a very hot summer day!
But I want to tell you also about another wall in China, a wall on the 6th floor of Maria’s Big House of Hope (MBHOH) in Luoyang, China. MBHOH is one of the care centers operated by Show Hope, and where we spent the majority of our time in China. MBHOH is home to 156 children with special medical needs, and also home to the nursing and operations staff. It is a place where a lot of beautiful things happen. (You can take a virtual tour and learn more about it here http://story.showhope.org/marias-big-house-of-hope)
On this 6th floor wall, painted sky blue, there are a lot of clouds. Every time a team comes to Show Hope, they pick a cloud and sign the wall, leaving encouragement and a record of their stay. You can see our cloud here, a rendering of the Belmont tower with the theme of our 125th anniversary: Belief in Something Greater. I love this theme for our university’s celebration, and I also love it as representing what I saw happening in China, and what I was reminded about in terms of my own calling. I do have a belief in something greater, and part of this belief is that we are called to be a part of people’s lives and stories in ways that bring healing and mercy and that seek justice. For people at Show Hope, a big part of this calling is providing medical and support services to children in China, and providing adoption aid and post adoption support for families in the US. For me, part of this calling involves continuing work in child welfare and with kids who have experienced trauma. For others, it means providing health care services or tutoring immigrants in English so that they can access education and employment opportunities. Really, there are so many ways we can entwine our stories with others, and it was refreshing for me to be reminded of this recently. If it has been awhile since you have thought about your own calling and work in the world, I invite you to take a look at your own (metaphorical) wall and see what is written on it in this season of your life.