pastoral/spiritual care

Helicopters and Rainbows: Bearers of Hope

This past Thursday I worked the morning shift 7a-3p and made my usual trek back up I-26 towards Columbia/Irmo after work.  It was a rather sunny, warm South Carolina day, probably 92 degrees.  Traffic was a bit heavy from the summertime but nothing of great note until about mile marker 136.  I came down a small incline hill and could easily see the Care Net flight helicopter sitting in the eastbound lane with the blades spinning and the engine going as they readied to load motor vehicle crash victims.  That chopper and its crew are familiar to me given my work with trauma calls and patients who come to the Medical University of South Carolina.  Regardless of my familiarity I did not like seeing the helicopter in the road since it signified serious injury, possibly life-threatening.  After seeing the vehicle turned upside down I realized that it was as bad as I feared.  It’s always awkward to see “rubber-neckers” slow down and try to see what actually happened.  I guess it’s just human nature.  I don’t know if anyone died but seeing the helicopter sitting on the highway, with traffic stopped and backed up for miles, made me see motor vehicles crashes from another perspective.  This view let me see a seemingly hopeless situation and allowed me to offer up a brief prayer for the people involved.  It was my way of remaining hopeful and sharing hope in the midst of seeing such a life-threatening event. 

Later that night I was driving about an hour before sunset back in Columbia.  It had just rained and out of nowhere, I saw a rainbow.  I was shocked and overjoyed.  I was overjoyed because it had been a long time since I had seen a rainbow.  Of course I also hold and believe they are spiritual signs to us from God.  For me they are signs of hope and beauty and joy.  This one was big.  Aren’t they all the same size?   I am not sure but the size and beauty of a rainbow is simply breathtaking.  Immediately seeing it I thought back to my commute home and the motor vehicle crashes and the trauma helicopter.  I thought to myself, “Isn’t this a good way to end the day?”  Thank you, God, for letting me see that rainbow.  Sometimes I see the beautiful (rainbows) and sometimes I see the not so beautiful (injured people from car accidents).  I hope your days ahead are filled with a rainbow or two occasionally.  Keep looking and keep hope alive.  God is with you and God is with me.  Amen. 

Lord God, thank you for rainbows that point us towards God and a good future.  Thank you, too, for the helicopter and staff who rescue people on the road following accidents.  Amen. 

-- Chaplain George M. Rossi

© Medical University of South Carolina | 171 Ashley Avenue, Charleston, SC 29425