While visiting a hospital in Haiti, we met a boy who was playing with his friend and running around like any average day when his friend ran into large pot of boiling water and it fell on him. He was burned very bad. It was horrifying to see the burns on this child. For moments all we could do was stare. My critical care skills wanted to kick in like they do while I’m working in the states, but there were no IV fluids to hang, no prophylactic antibiotics to save his life from infection, and there was no surgeon planning to do skin grafts. And most importantly, there was no pain medication to ease this child. So we stood and stared. We tried to speak words of love, but our words did not comfort him. Our prayers for him did not change his affect or dry his tears of pain. All we could do was look into his eyes and hope that he could feel the love that we had for him and hope that he was a fighter and could survive this. So we walked away. We walked away wanting to never remember what we had just seen.
Almost every trip to Haiti, I walk away from something that I wish I had never seen. I try to erase the sights out of my mind.
But I’m beginning to realize that we should not forget. We need to see. We need to see other people’s pain. We need to feel other people’s agony. Our hearts need to bleed for others. I look back now and think of all we could have done to help, but didn’t. We could have spent the day driving across the island trying locate pain medication for him. We could have stayed with him and spent time with him and tried to make him laugh. We could have talked with his father and found out if his family had any needs we could have met. We could have given his father a break and let him leave the hospital and get some fresh air or get a nice meal while we stayed with his child. We could have encouraged his father and prayed with him and loved on him. We could have done anything….but walk away.
This story and gruesome photo is not meant to discourage, but rather to encourage. We have an opportunity to learn from every situation we encounter. What I learned this week while in Haiti is to seize the moments you are in. Never be too busy to do the right thing. You see, we had places to go this day. We had appointments and other people we had to meet with. But what if that stuff didn’t matter? What if we would have decided not to go look at the house or have our next meeting? What if we had decided that this person God had placed in front of us was more important than all that other stuff? What if I had decided to let all my personal stressors to leave my mind long enough to help this boy? Those are the questions I want to leave you with. Most of the time I find myself walking away, later wishing I had seized the moment and did the right thing. I want to start seizing these moments in my life.