A Thin Line ...
I lived a day of extremes...
A friend sent me a text early to say that a mutual friend of ours had suddenly become unconscious. She was still breathing, but completely unable to move or open her eyes. She called a few hours later to say that the doctor couldn't find any evidence of brain activity. A few hours later, she died. The line between life and death is thin.
Alex and I went to the hospital.
This hospital would scare the daylights out of most of my US friends. It is a dirty place with lots of sweaty people coming in and out. There is very little privacy, not enough beds and fewer medical supplies.
Last fall, the young mother of one of our students died in childbirth because there were no bags to take blood donations. Literally, there were people ready to donate blood, but nothing to put the blood in. I saw her sister last Saturday, working herself to death to provide for her deceased sister's 4 orphaned children. The line between death and life is thin.
For some odd reason, there is something about being in that very hospital that makes me feel closer to God.
I stand there, watching people grieving in one corner and celebrating right around the other corner... and the veil between Heaven and Earth is stretched. Strangely, I feel alive in the hospital.
From the first day I stepped foot in this town, I felt this sense of being very close to the heartbeat of God. This area is simultaneously the most difficult place I have ever experienced and the most authentic.
How is such a dichotomy even possible?
Horribly difficult in terms of poverty, survival, comfort. Authentic in terms of the way it is literally impossible to pretend to be something that you are not. Authentic in the way that life is lived on an hourly basis... literally, meal to meal.
Death once again touches someone we know. We were not a daily part of this lady's life, but we love her family. We wanted to be fully present to love our surviving friends. I watched the gallon of formaldehyde being brought in by the friends. I stood aside watching my husband help load and unload the body. I listened as friends sang beautiful songs of comfort to one another. Authentic.
There is no undertaker or funeral home. There is no funeral plan or insurance to pay for the burial. The family comes together, buys the wood, makes the casket, digs the grave themselves and buries the body. Authentic.
Oddly enough, we left the bedside of death and entered into the thick of life.
Instituto Vida Abundante girls had a soccer game this afternoon. Since Arlee is part of the team, we planned a Waits family outing to the game. Our excursions as a complete family are rare due to the need for someone to be home and prevent thievery.
Smiles and nervous energy.
And so it is. Ends, beginnings, somewhere-in-betweens.
There is a thin line between death and life.