Monday, July 17, 2006


Three years ago I got an email asking for prayer for an Ethiopian family. The infant girl was having problems which turned out to be colon related. For three years, I've received periodic updates on her condition. The severity of her illness and the lack of proper and available medical care in her home country often seemed to be a death sentence.

Today I opened an email with the following information:
Dr. Marc Levitt did about 6 1/2 hours surgery on this 3 year old. He found
several inches of colon acting like a plug and the colon above that was
inflated and damaged due to 3 years of filling up like a balloon. In
summary, he cut out about 18 inches of bad colon and then reattached the
good colon.

The surgery was made possible because people in the U.S. connected to people in Ethiopia with whom this family was connected collected the funds for travel and then doctors donated their expertise. This little girl will now be healthy because of the kindness of strangers.

The day I received that first prayer request I felt less than capable of expressing a coherent plea for her. In fact, I probably uttered something along the lines of "may her death be as painfree as possible."

Recognizing that my conversations with God were less than on hospitable terms in those days, I sent the email to three mothers I knew -- three women who would lay down their lives and take out a few if necessary to protect their children and any other child within their sphere of influence.

And each time I got an updat, I'd forward it on. Sometimes I'd add a note of semi-hopefulness. Sometimes I'd apologize for filling their in box.

Today one of them wrote me as soon as she got the news of the successful surgery.

We celebrated.

And I had an aha.

In my dark times, I tend to put one foot in front of the other in the faintest hope that that matters . . . that simply being is better than giving up. I'm glad that even when shadows fall all around me, I still sense that there could be light.

Some would call that faith. I call it survival.

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