Faith in EMS


Some times I get frustrated with the ridiculous amount of empathy I feel for people. I hid behind sarcasm and literal distance, preferring to deal with my own moods instead of constantly trying to navigate and appease others…and I cry in my car in my driveway at the end of shift. Empathy as a paramedic is useful, but I feel it can also be crippling. I have a hard time brushing off the patients we transport, especially those who die or we find dead. Some are worse than others and from some I have a much easier time distancing myself. Although I always feel sympathetic for the families, it is harder to feel sympathetic for the 40 yo F who strokes out due to constant cocaine use, leaving multiple children who are malnourished and barefoot to be picked up by other family members. It’s hard to feel sympathetic for patients who abuse the 911 system on a regular basis. It’s hard to feel sympathetic for the drunk who swerved out of control off the road and hit a tree-hitting a 5 year old child in the process. There are people I have picked up and I am absolutely amazed by how much they repulse me, I wonder how they could ever have let themselves get to the state they are in, and how they can continue when help-medical and mental- is offered to them free of charge and repeatedly. I get so angry at how selfish they are, what a burden to everyone else, and how they just don’t seem to care. It’s a helpless, frustrating, useless anger because there is literally nothing I can do, and I spend a lot of time in angry confused prayer trying to resolve my own pointless frustration with these people.

A few nights ago I was reading in Romans, and I came upon one of the famous Awana Verses Chapter 5, vs. 8. “but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” It was the verses before this one though, that really made me stop to think. Starting in vs 6, “For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person-though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die–but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” I thought of all those crackaddicts and chronic alcoholics, abusive moms, abusive spouses-some I know by name-those people we pick up that are so extremely disgusting, and realized that to God THAT was us. I know it’s been taught and preached (praught?) a bazillion times, but for me it was an eye opener, and some how, I don’t feel quite as angry at all those miserable, selfish people I transport. My anger dissappeared, I was abashed, ashamed, and extremely grateful. Now, I still get frustrated with some patients, but these verses bring me up short. I may not understand God’s purpose, I may not be able to help those that many in this system deem “worthless”, and feeling anger at the harm they inflict on others is ok, but if God can love me when I was that absolutely foul and revolting-riddled with sin, then I have absolutely no room to hate these other humans. I may not be at the point yet where I can love them, I may not be at the point where I would die for them, but I can at least keep my temper in check because ultimately it’s between them and God, and I have no right to be self righteous.

Just some thoughts that have kept bouncing around in my head. I’ve gotta keep working on seperating the sin from the sinner…


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