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A Moment of Humanity

For those who don't know, I have had the privilege of serving as a nurse and interpreter this past week on a medical missions trip in Cuzco, Peru. The following was jotted down short hand on the back of my Spanish cheat sheet after a hard day in the clinic. It is my best attempt at re-creating the emotion of the moment.


The bus is driving and I am sitting here staring out the window. Today was a hard day. We had to tell a mother that her 10 year old son probably has muscular dystrophy and that it would eventually progress to his lungs and breathing. That is the hardest thing here, when people come to you looking for a cure and you realize the limits of medicine. I was struck by the intensity and sheerness of human need. I was struck by my own inability. So, here I am sitting on the bus.
I haven't really listened to music all week, and now I pop my earbuds into by ears and turn the volume up on something soothing. It's like my soul has been starved for beauty. Instantly, my body responds with that "welling-up" feeling. The feeling of overflowing emotion. My mind doesn't quite feel comfortable with all of this with so many people around, and they fight, soul and mind. To cry or not to cry.
Out of the window I can see; a refraction of rosiness on the terraced hills, clouds filtered through with golden light, houses made of soil, and a small piece of sky. The smell of burning wood is in the air. The bus rattles my body back and forth and shakes it's manual way past small outposts of humanity; villages and pueblos. I can taste the diesel fuel in my mouth. Suddenly, "There's nothing you can do" becomes less and less of an echo in my heart. Instead I am filled with a sweet sadness and a portion of peace. I am human. That is all. There is no place for a god complex here.
We are all human. Made equal by the great physician, the only one who can provide true comfort. We have all arrived at this place through some sort of intervention. For this California girl, it was the generosity of her parents and a plane ride that brought her here. For Daivi, it was the loving hands of a mother, who bent her back and tied her 10 year old son to her body and then walked for hours to hear devastating news of an illness without a cure. Yet, we all have come for a reason.
And now the light has faded. The clouds above flash lightning. The bus has entered back into the city traffic at the same time as the storm clouds form overhead. I am here. I am human. Lord, let that be enough.


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