Essentially, it was the first sit-com to deal with a more realistic plot, following the ups and downs of this MASH unit, both hysterical and realistic. The comedy is darkly believable, the depressing moments resonate strangely with both Andrew and I. Even though he and I don't perform actually surgery on patients in a war zone, the homesickness, the boredom, the loneliness, the depth of relationships formed in a short time, and the sadness of certain situations always seem to resound in our souls.
So several summers, we pull out our dvd's and have long extended marathons. I call it our therapy.
We are working our way now through the early season, and one of the episodes particularly struck a chord with me this year.
The chaplain, Father Mulchahey, is a good solid character, always there to lend a hand in surgery, write a letter, listen, give some spiritual advise, etc. But at one point, he expresses his frustration by saying, "Sometimes, I feel like I don't ever see results". He goes on to explain that the doctors and nurses see patients come in battered and broken, torn apart and they get to put them back together. He says he deals with the spiritual, and never seems to see anything come outta it.
During the episode, the docs come across a patient on the brink of death. The docs have done all they can, they don't know why the solider isn't getting better. They ask the padre to pray, and almost instantly, the patient wakes up and speaks. They turn to the Padre and say thanks. Befuddled he says, "it doesn't work that way..." but you can see his joy and gratification in that he was useful.
It feels that way here. Sometimes you work and work and work and pray and work and work, and you never feel like you get any gratification. But a couple of weeks ago, I had the same thing happen, right after I watched that episode of MASH.
Andrew and I are teaching classes and the man who is subcontracting us out, owes us a lot of money. He thought he was going to be able to pay us right before vacation, i.e. the month of August, but he wasn't able to. I called him a few days before vacation and he felt so bad on the phone that he couldn't pay us until he get paid. A thousand apologies...and I said, No pasa nada...and we hung up.
As I started to think about it, I realized I had a moment, an opportunity. In a metaphorical sense, the patient was dying, and I was given a moment in time to pray. I felt I should write Jose a note, and he had asked for some information anyway.
I gave him the info and then I wrote him this...translation below.