Wednesday, October 28, 2015

India Medical Mercy clinic day 3

Where does it hurt?

I noticed her right away. She was sitting in a row of children but she wasn't really there. Her eyes were distant, her affect depressed and her face showed a distant picture of a difficult life. As I examined children, one right after another, I wondered if the odds would be for her to come to me. I counted off the children sitting in the row, watched the other doctors and nurses who were examining children, counting off as they finished, still wondering if she would be my next patient. She was.

"How are you feeling?" I asked looking at her drawn face. She didn't reply.

"Does anything hurt?" I tried again.

The answer I got back was what I was hoping not to hear. For some reason it was clear why she looked the way she did, and for some reason I knew why. And I didn't want to hear it. Her wide eyes gave some of it away, her affect confirming it. She hadn't eaten dinner last night, nor lunch, and this afternoon, had had only a small glass of milk. They had no food. She lived with her mother, her older brother, and her grandmother. Her father had traveled to New Delhi to find work and to send money back. He was a farmer but his land had been taken away by the government in order to build a building. And you ask, how can that be? It is what it is.

This community is poor, even more than poor. When I asked "does anything hurt", she had no answer because after a certain point in time without food, it doesn't hurt anymore. She was one of the community children we saw after we saw all of our OCM sponsored children. I wonder how many more like her there are.

I sat back and thought for a minute just what this all means. We've all asked this question before of God: why do You let things like this happen? And I for one, have never gotten an answer. We are on our 3rd day of clinics and have seen more than I can ever write about and have more questions for God that are queued up waiting for answers. What I do know is that when I ask the question "where does it hurt", I find myself answering my own question: "my heart hurts."

You would think we would give her money to buy food or even give her some food if we had some. But there is some danger in that. Being singled out in a community that is impoverished brings animosity and jealously. We could put her and her family in great harm. So the best that we could do was to explore ways to feed the whole community. Not so easily done.

I asked her if I could take her picture and she said yes. I tried to show it to her, but she looked away. I wonder why. She went on her way, with some prayer and some vitamins and as I watched her leave our makeshift medical clinic, my heart hurt. These are the hard times we face when we come to serve and these are the times that I ask the hard questions of God waiting for an answer. God, I'm listening.

In all things give thanks,