You know I’ve been there probably by now at least 20 times. I have walked through those same front doors, and while every experience there has held a touch of “difference” depending on the circumstances we encountered while doing visitation, it has also held a hint of “sameness.” Children hit by vehicles all over this country, lying in beds alone because mom and dad (if dad is around) have to work and can not afford to take a day off to be with their child. Babies who need surgeries on brains and other parts that may or may not happen depending upon funding or lack thereof. I am never completely prepared for any of the sights of this third world hospital and the sights and smells it contains, but I am at least now somewhat aware of what I will witness and experience on those days. They are some of the hardest days of a Torch trip for me. Difficult.
Today though there wasn’t a hint of sameness, cause I walked through the door now with this sweet little girl that I now love as my own and we went to visit the doctor and be the patient instead of going to visit the patients. We were unaware that before Katty had come to us, she was having tests run while at Casitas for leukemia and various other serious diseases because her blood cell count was not where it was supposed to be. We were required by Casitas to keep up with this and we didn’t know it until a month or so ago. Then all at once this one ugly word kept coming up in conversation and while our Spanish isn’t perfect this one you can’t mistake…”cancer.” Such an ugly word, and it’s ugly in either language, in any language. So we had another blood test done on Katty last week and had a follow up appointment with the oncologist this morning at 6:30 am. So I walked through those same front doors and up those same stairs and through those same green hallways, it’s just that when these feet stopped walking what I saw in front of me were bald heads of children, or beanies covering bald heads, and I saw mother’s and father’s, grandma’s and aunt’s I suppose, with sick sick children. We had to wait to see the doctor for about 3 hours (welcome to Honduras…you be grateful for your 1 hour wait next time 🙂 and in that amount of time I must have said Jesus a thousand times because I just had nothing else to say except to call out to Him for some sort of comfort for these precious people. I watched and sick scared came over me like ok God according to what I can tell it looks like things are pretty much ok with her lab results, but oh dear God what if we walk into that room and she says something like yes she’s gonna need chemotheraphy or yes she has leukemia. What then??!!
I told my sweet friend Gina today that in the last 6 months I have experienced more than I have in 29 years I think. Never expected to be sitting in a waiting room on an oncologist with a 3 year old little girl. Never expected to have to learn how to deal with horrendous sexual abuse, and how to love someone through the after effects of it. Never expected it, but you do what you have to do and I have found God in every single one of those moments right beside us.
I found Him today in that waiting room holding this scared to death “momma” and this heart sick human who was witnessing suffering in ways I just don’t have words to explain. I watched this daddy attempting to be the rock when his face said oh buddy I just want to cry with you as his son walked through the little glass door to do his chemo treatment. 3 hours is a long time to watch people doing life in a cancer ward. Was another moment to either expose yourself to life and the frailty of it and enter into some part of the sufferings of others or to turn my head and pretend it wasn’t happening. I just am finding it so difficult to do that anymore. It is as if I feel as though it somewhat cheapens what someone else is experiencing if I do not at least acknowledge the struggle and pain.
And then we walked into the doctor’s office and she examined Katty while I held my breath (speaks alot for my faith in that moment doesn’t it) and then I heard these words, no everything looks fine. Her blood cells are at normal levels and there is no reason to suspect anything except anemia, she needs some iron. My heart did leaps and my eyes had tears and I hugged her a little tighter when she got up off that table and I will enjoy her a whole bunch more from every day from now on. I was so grateful.
It’s just that then we had to walk back out the doctor’s office door and I looked into eyes that couldn’t leap because they hurt so bad. They had questions too many to count and a future too uncertain with this one they loved.
I spent today in a cancer ward in Hospital Escuela and I was reminded again how desperately we need to love people and be kind cause you have no idea…absolutely no idea the sufferings they are enduring. I still do not have any idea what it would feel like to have to take your son or daughter to chemo treatments, but I have a better idea what a face looks like now when you do. I will not forget them easily. I saw another element of the human experience today, and I’m learning that the more we embrace those moments and enter into them, we become more what Christ intended for us to be. Active parts of a broken world who attempt to spread light and love.
Thanks for letting me spew. My heart needed somewhere to put all the emotion tonight. This is my place to figure out my own thoughts and feelings as well as share with you.
Hug the people you love a little tighter today…and have compassion for the people you encounter…there is so much hurt in the world and we are God’s ambassadors as though He were making His appeal through us. Love them well!!