Restoring Dignity

Peace, peacemaking, peacemaker? These were the words I was hearing over and over again, but these are the words that usually surround other individuals, not me, right? The world is torn and it feels overwhelming to the core but as I hear these words being spoken by women I know and respect, I know I have to lean in. As I lean in, my worldview is shaken, my actions, thoughts, even how I see the gospel, shaken. The more I learn about these words of peace, peacemaking, peacemaker, I learn it is not as big as I once thought, it is not as intangible as I first knew. I learn to listen, which would end up being a bigger action then I could have imagined. I listen to these words be explained in a way I had not heard before. One of those thoughts, “peacemaking is about restoring dignity and humanity to those who have lost it.” I can’t stop thinking about this thought, restore dignity and humanity to those who have lost it, but how? I can’t change the world. Here is the thing about that last thought, I’m not being asked to change the world, instead I’m being asked to engage in my part of the world, it starts where I am at, not where it will end up. This very idea gave me new eyes for the life I was living. I had worked in the same field for almost 10 years, healthcare. Healthcare, much like the world, can feel torn and overwhelming. It can just feel as though you are not going to change the system. Once again, I am not being asked to change everything, I am being asked to engage, to restore in my part of the world, life, and work. For the last 10 years of working in healthcare it has been specifically in the neuro field. Working with patients who have had a traumatic event that has changed their life. Anywhere from Traumatic Brain Injuries, Strokes, MS, Parkinson’s, etc. Once the patient has been diagnosed, as of now, their diagnosis is lifelong. This is the reality of these diagnosis. At times, they are starting a new life, different than once before. Usually months if not years of rehabilitation/therapy will follow, this is where I was. I was an administrator and I found that my favorite part of my job was advocating for the patients through their insurance. The insurance side of their rehabilitation always hurts the most, because we rely on someone to read about a person and make a decision whether or not they “deserve” to have more therapy or for their therapy to be covered. I have seen devastating no’s for so long. These no’s impact the lives of these individuals more than the insurances will ever know or see. These individuals were being reduced down to typed reports with some test scores and facts. That was it, a quick read with a decision that would follow, “it is our determination that you have made the most gains and therefore no more therapy is needed,” “you have exceeded your limits and therefore we will not cover the services provided.” So this was my part of the world. Now that I knew I was being asked to engage, what did that look like in a system that is much larger than me? Again those words come back to me “peacemaking is about restoring dignity and humanity to those who have lost it.” At that moment, I lean in, how do I restore? When I turn back to the gospel I see Jesus, giving the “other” a new narrative, a voice, I see how He was the greatest example of engaging. Once again, restore. After a stirring for what felt like an eternity; a what if came to thought. What if we video the patients and give them a voice for their recovery; what if we send this video along with all the reports and doctor notes to the insurance; what if we turn those reports into a person by giving the patient a voice, a story, their story? This what if turned into a reality, video appeals. Now, we have a way to provide a person, a story to these insurance companies, when they are ready to just say no, they have one more layer, a real person that lives at the other end of those reports whose lives are forever changed, ready to tell their story, their recovery, and their life now and to not be another statistic but a person. It is in this there is a new hope for these patients, it may not give them a yes every time, but it is one more layer to fighting for these patients. Even though I didn’t change all of healthcare, all of insurance companies’ policies, I was able to engage where I was at and make a dent in my part of the world. Without being asked to lean in, engage, restore, and be active where I am, none of this would have even been a thought. The world feels overwhelming, torn, and too much to handle, but we all have our part, at least that is what I have come to know through peacemaking. My part looks different than yours but we all have a part. It starts with a simple thought, what am I being asked to engage in, restore, and act on in my part of the world?

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