“Who are you?”
He’s not sure. Shy, protected, uncertain. He looks at us wondering who we are and what we are doing. What is he here for I wonder? A cough, congestion, malnutrition, or fever? I can only guess until he is seen by one of the examiners. His look never changes, his eyes asking, searching for answers. The answers will come. But will they be the answers he’s looking for?
The first day
We walked into our very first day of clinic with everyone ready to go to work, yet anxious of what the day was going to bring. Set up took a while, but once the kinks were worked out, the clinic ran smoothly. It worked. And there is that word: “works”. We came to do “works” and there is no denying that. We came to be present. There is no denying that either. Does being present trump “works”? Yes.
And it was evident when that little boy was seen and had a physical exam, a diagnosis was made, medications were ordered, and his hand was held. His hand was held. Being present when present. How many of us are present when present with our own family? Do we take the time we have together for granted? Do we hold the hands of our family just to be present when present? Or do we rush off to the next chore, the next event, the next thing on our hourly to do list?
This little boy came asking the question “who are you” with his eyes. He found out that we are simply humble folk, looking to be present when present with those who come to us for help.
Try doing this with your family. I found that I needed to do this. My life had become too much of “me” and too little of “them”. Find a moment to stop what you are doing, take the hand of one of your family members and just hold it. Hold it for a long time. Say nothing. Squeeze a little. Entwine fingers together. Look into their eyes. You’ll find that they know who you are and you them. Being present when present. It’s not what we bring but what we leave behind. A memory of caring.
In all things give thanks,
Read more about the trip and our preparation