Luke 24:13-32
This is Jesus heartburn(I have to credit Dallas Willard for this term!)...31 Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight. 32 They asked each other, "Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?"

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Big Machine

This morning I went along with one of our boys to get a CT Scan of his facial bones and mandible. He has significant swelling on one side of his face and we are trying to discover how serious the problem is. We went to the government hospital where all the specialist work and where the difficult cases are referred. I should know by now, not to expect a clean, sanitary environment. You know the hospital smell that so many complain about in the US? I would love to smell that instead of urine, sweat, and dirt. We waited for a long time (which must be normal in Drs. offices everywhere!) in the room where you wait for xrays and non-emergency surgeries. I watched one mother send in her obviously ill 20 something son and then sit on the bench and weep. How different these waiting rooms are, in America, they seem to be filled with people who are hopeful. They are sick but sure that the Dr. will make them well; confident in science or technology until they are told with clarity not to hope anymore. This waiting room was not filled with people hoping for a cure or the latest technology to save them. It was filled with people who were suffering but were lucky enough to afford some sort of treatment, even if small.
While we waited I let Swaju draw in my notebook. He would draw a small picture and then look at me with the biggest smile, like he had just been given the opportunity to do something so special. I now have this beautiful page in my notebook full of the names of his friends here at the center; a portrait of me; and many other pictures. He was so proud to show his friends!

We finally got to the room for the scan and poor Swaju was so scared. I went in with him (the room had AC!) to get him settled on the table and then tried to have the radiologist explain to him what would happen. I tried to imagine what this would feel like for a young boy who has never seen or imagined a machine like this. The table moves by pushing buttons and it looks like a huge hole. We left him alone in the room and they went to get the picture. They told him to lay still but he was terrified and as soon as the table started moving and the lights flashing he got up which caused quite a commotion. They opened the door and everyone was yelling at him…the consensus was that Osseh needed to go in with him and hold him down. They got good pictures the second time and then Osseh came out and said that he understood why he was scared. Osseh was amazed at the table that moved around and the flashing lights…he would have run away too!
After the scan was done, the technician asked me 'how far are you willing to go to help this boy'. What a horrible question. How far?!? I wanted to shout, whatever it takes, but I caught myself and remembered that although this man demonstrated compassion and sincere worry for the boy, the question was primarily about money. We don't have a diagnosis yet and admitting that we are working very hard to make sure that he gets the best medical care may have an impact on the price and quality of the care he receives. So, instead of the lecture that I wanted to deliver I said, we can only make these decisions when we have all the information, and so we wait and pray until Friday.
As I sat in the waiting room I watched this quiet, patient boy and I was inspired. He has been in and out of appointments and clinics for the past month and yet he doesn't argue or complain. He simply waits and trusts. Even when the big machine terrified him and he cried, he trusted Osseh and went back and tried again. What a brave and strong little boy. I have often complained that I HATE the dentist, I would rather be anywhere but there…but I am starting to realize how privileged I am to go to the dentist and have my teeth cleaned and have them patiently explain everything that is happening to me and give me drugs to numb the pain. Swaju has been to the dentist and had multiple procedures, I'm sure without much pain medication or explanation, and yet he patiently and quietly waits for whatever happens next. I wish that I was more like Swaju when it came to my relationship with God…I don't wait patiently. I argue and complain, sure that the next step is going to cause too much pain or be uncomfortable. I want to know every detail of what is happening and if I get scared and run once, I am for sure not going to try it again!

Every day here I fall in love with these children…today it is Swaju. As time goes by you will hear more about him and how far we will go to help this boy. I pray that our efforts will not be in vain, that every interaction, touch, dollar spent, and treatment will remind him that he is loved by all of us…by Osseh who exposed himself to radiation, by the nurse who has patiently been transporting him to the Dr everyday and overseeing his treatment, by his new friends here who welcomed him home with happiness, by TRS—we'll do our very best to help him—and most especially by Jesus. The song coming home in the car was "He knows my name"
I have a Maker
He formed my heart
Before even time began
My life was in his hands

I have a Father
He calls me His own
He'll never leave me
No matter where I go

He knows my name
He knows my every thought
He sees each tear that falls
And He hears me when I call