Written by: Mike Donehey
Written on: Monday, March 23, 2009


Hey friends,
I had the privilege of reading this post by a friend of mine.
She’s in Africa, doing some awesome medical work and had the following
experience in regards to a song called, “Times” on our album.
If you have a few minutes, give it a read.
I was totally blown away.

When I walk onto the wards at two in the afternoon and am handed an
assignment sheet bearing only the names of Alfred and Emmanuel, it’s
safe to say that the shift is going to be quiet. Both have been here
forever, both get their vital signs taken once a day and neither really
has any medications or involved procedures to be done in the evenings.
With the exception of a surprise admission (which turned out to be four
for the price of one; family-style hospital trips are all the rage
here) the shift rolled along very much as I expected. I hung out with
my fellow nurse, Sarah. We made folders for photos. I chatted to the
other patients and wandered around with a sleeping baby on my back. It
was quiet.

After dinner, we had all had just about enough of the sleepy pace of
things. We were, in a word, bored, and the hours until ten o’clock
needed to be filled. Somehow.

It turns out that Austin, one of our longer-term patients, is a
musician. His first admission was to reduce the size of his massively
overgrown toes. Things were looking good, but going home in Liberia
means going back to dirt and damp, and dressings just don’t stay clean.
Austin’s foot got infected, and so this second admission was to
amputate one of the toes. I was working on A Ward the day they told him
his toe would have to be taken off, and he was devastated. Austin is a
young guy, and he was pretty convinced he’d never walk again. It was a
rough couple days after surgery for him, with pain and anxiety mixing
to create the most heartbreaking fear.

But Austin has his spirit back now. And last night, he sang and rapped
for me. He laughed his head off while I tried to sing one of his own
compositions along with him. Baby
Girl, you fine-o. Baby Girl, you fine-o. You walkin’ like a stranger,
you talkin’ like an angel, you look like made from cream-o. I say you
fine-o. Once we had gotten that song down pat, he asked me about
what kind of music I like. I searched through my files on the work
computer and came up with Audrey and Mike singing Hallelujah.
He asked me if I had any more songs by ‘that guy,’ and so
I ran down to my room to get my computer.

We ran through a couple Tenth Ave songs fairly quickly until landing on Times.
It stopped him cold. He sat up, leaned forward and listened intently.
“I want for you to give me the words to this one, please.”
Since I hear God speaking to me every time I hear that song, I was only
too happy to oblige. I grabbed a pen and paper and wrote furiously.

When I finished, I handed him the page, started the song again and went
to check on my patients. From the other side of the ward, I heard him
singing. “Your love is over, it’s underneath. It’s inside, it’s in between.
Oh oh, oh oh, oh oh.”

We played the song over and over until the battery died and my computer
shut off. At which point he brought the paper over to his friend a few
beds down, a kid who will find out today whether or not he has cancer.
Heads bent close, they studied the words. Another patient, Friend,
stopped by for a visit. “Come see this song, man! Austin called.
It’s a fine gospel song. Brother Mike sing about love.”
So Friend got to hear about this overwhelming love too.

I don’t know if Mike and the guys have any idea how powerful this song
really is. Borkai and Friend and Austin. Cancer and burn scars and
missing toes. In times of confusion and chaos and pain, God’s love over
and underneath it all.