My mother is in hospital at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore; she had, last Friday, major surgery to remove a rare cancerous tumour from deep within her liver. It was a very long and complex procedure that requires a surgeon of great skill and care surrounded by a hospital that can support the whole endeavour. The surgery itself went well and she is recovering now although she's having some (expected) complications and challenges. I'll write more about her journey through this in the coming weeks.
My father and I are staying on the hospital campus in a special facility provided for cancer patients and family whilst they are here for treatment. Johns Hopkins covers this vast swath of Baltmore; it's consistently rated one of the top hospitals in the United States. It was started by a Quaker man in the 1800's with an endowment that was equivalant to eleven billion dollars in today's money. I'm struck by such generosity from a man who gave what was needed in his time and now his stewardship gives back so many times more (there is a lot more to explore about Hopkins, he was an abolitionist and insisted that blacks and whites be served equally in the hospital and also set up orphanages and schools for blacks in a time when that was considered illegal). I, once again, find the subtle spirit of Quakers still resonating down through time.
I've included an image I made the other day here in the old entrance to the hospital (which is now buried in the enormity of what the campus has become). It's called Christus Consolator, though Hopkins himself was a non-sectarian and was an early advocate of multi-fatith counsel in hospitals, this was placed as an iconic symbol of guidance and comfort. I think it still stands well deep within the quiet heart of this place.