Sometimes, I am not sure if it’s my place to tell their stories. I’m not sure if I have any right to impose and join their mess called life. I feel out of place and so inadequate when I look at the depths of their pain. But some how, some way, for some reason I am here in the middle of it. And some times it is life or death.
I met a man back in November, I assumed he was 40 years old. When I met him he was lying on the grass of a government hospital. He was frail and very ill. Tuberculosis. He got his medications and from what I understood was going to get well again. I only saw him every few weeks.
I saw him again on Tuesday, he was sitting listening to the radio but his eyes seemed to stare into nothingness. I looked at my friend and said “he’s going to die.” So, we talked to him asked him why he had stopped taking his medication and told him if he needed anything we would get it for him, but if he wanted to be well he had to take the medication. He told us the medication had run out and he needed more, the lady taking care of him told us he had said he just wanted to be left alone to die.
The next morning we went to the government hospital and the doctor gave us his medication for the next 28 days. While in the clinic his medical card had his age on it. twenty two. I laughed nervously and said “but is he really 22?” Ugandans don’t keep track of their age, surely he was off by several years.
We brought him the medication and some porridge mixed with powdered milk (doctor approved and the only thing he could manage). While standing in his door his neighbor handed me his work badge with his photograph on it, the date stamped was June 2016. I stared for so long and I didn’t want to give it back.
sometimes life is so unfair.
sometimes it takes and takes and takes but never gives back.
sometimes it’s bound to leave us frail and yearning for death.
twenty two. the young face in the photograph stared back at me, his eyes are so hopeful and his smile so big. how the heck does someone go from being so robust and handsome to this in such a short time? I glanced at him and watched as he slowly breathed, his ribs showing through his shirt. He needed to go to the hospital but we had already convinced him to take the medication and I wasn’t sure he would be convinced to go back to the hospital to be admitted for awhile. So, we asked.
As long as there were no needles.
I couldn’t promise him that, but we told him we wanted him well again.
In Uganda, taking someone to the hospital means that they have to have a caregiver- nurses don’t assist with going to the toilet or changing clothes or feeding the patient. We had to find someone to go with him.
We found his father working at a gas station, he’s working 14 hour days and was so confused about what to do next for his son.
I listened as he asked his manager for money to go to the hospital.
I listened as the manager told him no.
I listened as he told us his wife died.
I listened as he said he already lost his other 2 children.
I listened as he said he was the only relative who could stay with the son, but could only probably be there a couple days as his employer wouldn’t allow longer.
We would stay if that’s what it meant.
So, tomorrow we are taking this father and son to the hospital in Kampala. It is a total faith walk because I have no idea who’s going to pay the transportation or for new clothes and bedsheets or the hospital fees or the food. But God. He’s going to make a way because that is who He is.
I hear these stories of brokenness and I cannot imagine the losses that they’ve faced. I cannot imagine fighting death when you’ve seen death take everyone you love. I look at the grief and all I can do is sink to my knees and pray and weep and long for heaven.
But I will be their brave.
I will fight when the doctor tells me that “maybe he’s just going to have to die”.
I will stay when he has nobody else too.
I will love fearlessly even if the ending may be different than what I fight for.
But I will always be their brave. always.
It’s not my story to tell, but somehow He has pulled me into their mess and I believe His redemption and glory is already written all over it.
If you can, please consider donating to pay for the medical needs. I will head to Kampala in about 12 hours in complete faith but knowing that He’s not leaving this part of the story unwritten. We are their brave, friends. We are the ones to stand against the immeasurable losses of this father and son. There is no one else coming, we are it. You can donate by clicking HERE.
Whatever we do for the least of these, for the ones enduring loss after unbearable loss, we do for His kingdom and His glory.
He’s writing the story, we are just walking in obedience.