Let those who suffer according to the will of God commit their souls to Him in doing good . . . —1 Peter 4:19
“Choosing to suffer means that there must be something wrong with you, but choosing God’s will— even if it means you will suffer— is something very different. No normal, healthy saint ever chooses suffering; he simply chooses God’s will.”
~Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest
My blood pressure still hovers slightly above normal. It comes down, then goes back up. The human body, they say, is a funny thing.
Most of our ministries have been put on hold. Our illnesses have forced us to take a break. Tony is still going to the boys’ home. But he comes home really down from all the things he sees. I run into the boys often around the neighborhood. That is, when I am feeling brave enough to leave the house. I have completely given up walking. If I go out, I drive. Even if it’s five blocks away. I don’t need to be bitten by any stray dogs. Trying to avoid any more problems, you know. God will just have to bring my blood pressure down without exercise.
The other day I walked into the Health Clinic, and there was Cris.
Hola!, como estas?! What are you doing here?
I seem to run into Cris everywhere. The last time was when I was out for a walk (back when I walked; I don’t anymore), I saw him walking around the neighborhood with Esteban and one of the caretakers from the home. They were selling bread crumbs door to door to raise money to be able to take the boys out for an afternoon.
Cris is just adorable and, for all his issues, he can be quite sweet.
I had a dentist appointment, he tells me. I have a cavity.
Really? Let me see.
(He opens his mouth wide.)
He’s right – there it is: a huge, brown, gaping cavity in his unusually beautiful mouth of pearly whites.
Wow. So are they going to fix it?
Yeah, they gave me this medicine. He shows me a little box.
Oh. Well, that’s good. So, who are you with?
One of the tios; he’s over there, pointing.
Come sit with me while I wait, I say.
He does. We sit down on a bench.
So, what’s new?
So-and-so at the home raped Diego (not his real name). That’s what’s new, he tells me point blank, right there in the waiting room.
I look at him.
What?, is all I manage.
He raped him. [He actually uses a different word, one I won’t translate.] So they sent him to another boys’ home.
Who raped him??
He tells me. I’ve heard Tony mention the boy’s name before. I’ve never met him.
I sit there thinking.
How old is he, the one who did this? I manage to get out.
And Diego? [not his real name] How old is he?
I sit for a moment, aware that many people in the room could possibly have heard the whole conversation if they had paid any sort of attention.
I ask him if he did anything to him.
No. No. Not me. No. I recall later how he didn’t look at my eyes. He looked down.
Good. You know that no one is ever allowed to do that kind of thing to you, you know that, right?
No, no. He didn’t do anything.
And you should tell someone immediately if they do, right?
(I find out later that he is not telling me the whole truth. The rest of the story is quite disturbing. And not appropriate for public places.)
I call Tony right then and there from the waiting room, with Cris sitting next to me.
We chat for a minute. I pass the phone to Cris and they talk for a few moments. I can’t say anything while sitting there in that waiting room.
The nurse finally calls me in to take my blood pressure. I’m sure it can’t be normal after the story I just heard. It is. To my surprise it is finally normal after three weeks. But it goes back up. Then down. Up. Down. Up. Down.
I drive the six blocks home. I no longer walk; I refuse to walk. The last thing I need to add to my already too-full plate is a dog bite and rabies shots.
When I tell Tony, he is saddened, but not surprised. He saw it coming. He saw the signs. We wonders why they can’t protect the kids from these things. Maybe they can’t. Or won’t. Or don’t bother. Who knows. Just as much abuse seems to happen in some homes as in the situations that they were taken out of. What a mess. What a MESS.
More comfort food. I make Martha Stewart’s Lemon Cream Scones and read again Oswald Chambers,
He calleth . . . by name. — John 10:3
When I have sadly misunderstood Him?(John 10:17.) It is possible to know all about doctrine and yet not know Jesus. The soul is in danger when knowledge of doctrine outsteps intimate touch with Jesus. Why was Mary weeping? Doctrine was no more to Mary than the grass under her feet. Any Pharisee could have made a fool of Mary doctrinally, but one thing they could not ridicule out of her was the fact that Jesus had cast seven demons out of her…
Do I know Jesus? Huh. That is the million dollar question.
I Skype with my Mom. After eight months she finally gets the audio on her computer fixed and we can hear her! She says it all sounds so overwhelming… so unbelievable.
It is. Other worldly, really. Or maybe it’s just the world in general. The nitty-gritty dark places. The one in which over 3 billion people live on less than $2.50 a day.
People came to our door four or five times this week asking for food, for money. We know them all. A man came tonight while Tony was at the store. I told him I didn’t have any money, and we needed to go food shopping so, not much to spare, but if he wanted to wait until Tony came back…. He thanked me and waited. Tony talked to him, while I gave him one of the muffins I had just pulled out of the oven. He asked to borrow 100 pesos ($25); his new job doesn’t pay him until next week. Tony said he would help him and gave him the 100 pesos. I trust his judgement. He’s much better with people and a very good judge of character – sometimes he’s wrong, but rarely.
I went back inside and the kids asked if their dad had “helped that guy.” When I said yes, he gave him 100 pesos, my daughter said, “But what if he buys something with it he’s not supposed to?“. I reminded her how people have helped us, and God helps us and gives to us, so we should do the same to others in their need. That’s what Jesus tells us to do. We believe he will buy food with it, but if he doesn’t, that is between him and God. For what we know of him, we are pretty sure he will buy what he needs. But if he buys a bottle of wine too, well then, “Let him drink and forget his poverty, and remember his misery no more” ~Proverbs 31:7 — because I can guarantee anyone reading this right now would not want to trade places with him, have to peddle vegetables for a living, and live in the shack he lives in. He will die a poor man, chances are we won’t.
He who oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to
the needy honors God. Proverbs 14:31
There is other good news, finally. Tony got a job. Just Saturdays and Sundays, but it’s something, and it helps a lot. We are very thankful. He has missed working at a “real job”. Me, too.