Saturday, February 12, 2011

life and death, and the God who holds us all

About a year ago I met this sweet baby girl.  She lived in a poor village outside of town.  I was helping at a feeding center that her older siblings went to each day.  She was the 16th child of a man who had three wives.  He made under $40 a month.  Her mother brought her to me, asking if there was something I could do.  I'm a peds nurse.  I knew in an instance, she would need a shunt to live.  I also knew how impossible that would be here in eastern Congo. I knew she would die.  

Well, not so impossible with God.  There was a neurosurgeon at the local hospital who had been trained in Belgian.  He was the only neurosurgeon in eastern congo (the size of the eastern 1/3 of the US).  I deliberated.  A lot.  What if we get the surgery done and she dies anyway?  Her family is too poor.  She will only die later.  She is too poor.  Ah, the poverty and  ugliness of my own heart, of my own spirit! As if it was up to me, as if I give and take life away.  As if being poor takes away your dignity, your right to a beautiful hope filled life.  As if poverty takes away your hope, your choice, your chances.  God pressed me forward.  He knew that in God we find hope and freedom.  We raised the money.  She got the surgery.  She lived. She was loved by her family, by her mother.   For one year.  

She died last week.  I don't know if she died from complications of her shunt (blockages and infections can happen in some children) or from another common disease that kills children every day in developing countries, like malaria or diarrhea.  Did I save her to die?  Did I save her?  No, I did nothing. I am the clay, and God molds me and shapes me, He is the potter.  God saves, he holds our lives in the palms of His hands. He gives, He takes away.  Mystery.  A choice to trust in His goodness and love.

This little girl lives.  She lives, and one day we will meet again.  And until then I pray that my heart will lose the poverty I find within it, and instead be filled with grace, humility, and above all else, love.  Until then, sweet baby, until then.  God is not finished with me yet.


mary said...

grieving this loss with you and yes, celebrating her eternal life and the year of better health she was able to have on this earth.

Megan said...

Praying for you. And all the children.