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Thursday, October 15, 2009

A Grateful Heart

As you walk in the Ward you can not help but notice the smile of Prince Eddie. His smile illuminates the room and he is known for his contagious joy and grateful heart. A businessman by vocation, he keeps a black briefcase next to his hospital bed. Inside, amidst stationery and pens, is a carefully stored photograph of his new bride, Millicent, and a wedding ring he can’t wear because of his burn; forcing it over the burn is too painful.
Prince Eddie was born with a condition called syndactyly. On both of his hands, his ring fingers and middle fingers were fused together. When he was an infant, he received a surgery to separate the fingers at a local hospital. The operation was successful on his right hand, but post-surgical complications burned the fingers on his left hand, leaving them fused and contracted.
Every day,for 36 years, Prince Eddie has made subtle modifications to perform common tasks and avoid embarrassment. His job involves a lot of computer work and he finds typing hard because he can't freely move his fingers. Consequently when there are a lot of people around he won't sit by his computer because he wants to hide his hand.
The injury had prevented him from pursuing many interests like music and learning the guitar, but it has never stolen his joy. In the face of difficulties and disappointment, he’s never stopped smiling. Today, Prince Eddie has a lot to smile about. Four months ago, he married his beautiful bride, Millicent, and is very excited about being a husband. This month, he received a free surgery onboard the Africa Mercy to restore the use of his fingers. In a few weeks, his bandages will be removed, and he will finally be able to wear his wedding ring.
Prince Eddie first encountered Mercy Ships in 2006 when the Anastasis came to his home country of Ghana. Friends from his church were living on the Anastasis and encouraged him to come to the ship. He was examined by a surgeon. The surgical schedule was already full, so he was placed on a waiting list. He was never called back. This year, they informed Prince Eddie that the Africa Mercy was coming to Benin. In March he traveled to Benin, was examined by a surgeon, and again placed on a waiting list. The always gracious Prince Eddie did not become disheartened or frustrated. He knew there were a lot of people that were worse off than him and so didn't feel bad about being put on the waiting list. Fortunately, a space in the surgical scheduled opened, and Prince Eddie was able to receive his free surgery. Prince Eddie is extremely grateful to the doctors and nurses who have cared for him on the Africa Mercy and wrote a poem, “Angels Amongst the Sons of Men,” to express his gratitude. “I see all the nurses here as angels. It’s a touching sight to watch the nurses work. How could I not be grateful?” said Prince Eddie.
Prince Eddie explained his inspiration: “I see all the nurses here as angels. Because of the pain in my hand, sometimes I can’t sleep at night. Instead, I sit awake and watch the nurses work. They do everything, from cleaning to mopping – taking care of all kinds of things. It takes angels to do that, to render that service.” -“Sometimes you do a lot of things, and you wonder if people really appreciate what you do. Patients come in and out, and many don’t have the opportunity to say ‘Thank you.’ I feel everyone would wish to express their gratitude, but the English background restrains many people from saying what they want to say. I wanted them to know I appreciate them.” -“It was already a touching sight to watch the nurses work, but then I learned they have to pay to work onboard. I asked myself, why are they paying to work? They should be paid to work. I was so touched because I knew they were doing the service of the Lord. You have to have a big heart to do that.”-“I write as a hobby when I am inspired. I don’t keep copies of my writing; if someone inspires me, I write, give it to them. I felt like writing the poem to say, ‘Thank you.’ My motivation is to let everyone know that I am so grateful for what they have done for my fingers. I wanted to thank everyone who helped me. This poem is what I feel; it’s a way of saying, ‘Thank you.’”
Angels Amongst the Sons of Men The day the Big White Whale landed on the black shores of Africa was a blessed day to the Sons of Men. It came with Angels to walk amongst the Sons of Men. Why do I call them Angels? Let me tell you of my time with them.
I came onboard the White Whale with rooms filled with the lame the maimed the formed the deformed the wrong and the rough. And deep into the darkest part of the night, I saw men and brethren, maidens and ladies, though flesh as us, yet with hearts as Angels. Sleeplessly and tirelessly they toiled through the night, through the pains and aches of men; They, with hands to heal and mend, bringing from above the Father's love to the Sons of Men. Some they cut. Some they tie. Some they seal, and yet others they fix with tools untold. Like messengers of the Most High they came. Not thinking of their own, they risked their lives and sailed the seas to lands beyond the endless world, to shores of Men afflicted and in pain. Their hearts and lives they came to share, as Angels walking amongst the Sons of Men. Some in this life are born to pass, and some are born in life to live, Yet these Angels are born to preserve humanity. Though some may see lives as waste, yet with speed they move to save. With words of love and touch of peace, they endlessly toil to make right the wrong. You were born as Men to your lands, and yet as Angels you served the earth. Gold is digged from earth beneath. Treasures are hunted on high seas. But love so pure and true can only in hearts like yours be found. Your labor in the Lord shall not be in vain. For every life you touch and every soul you save, For every bone you mend and every face you straight, The Lord of Life and Light will light your path and guide your life. For you are truly Angels amongst the Sons of Men.

1 comment:

Bob Hookins said...

You're a special man too Prince Eddie - it's words like that which inspire and encourage those who dedicate their time in the Big White Whale