It’s 6:30am, and I am squatting in the semi-darkness over a basin of cold water, washing poop out of every crevice of my son’s butt. Perfect start to my day. Some things about rectal prolapse are not so nice. Like loss of bowel control.
And I am grumbling already.
An hour later I am squatting over another basin of cold water, washing poop out of underwear, shorts, and washcloths while one of my sick, fussy babies cries continually in the background.
And I grumble some more.
This week has been busy, full of sick people, malnourished babies, and a broken arm. Out of all the people admitted to the local clinic, over half are ones we brought. So we run back and forth, bringing food (because they don’t provide food at clinics or hospitals), bringing hot water (because the clinic has no way to heat water for plastering broken bones), bringing blankets and clothes and soap and basins.
And I grumble.
“I am so tired.”
“I want a nap.”
“This baby just won’t stop crying.”
“I don’t feel good.”
And on and on and on…
Last week we read about the Israelites in the wilderness.
“Oh, that we had meat to eat! We remember the fish we ate in Egypt that cost nothing, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic. But now our strength is dried up, and there is nothing at all but this manna to look at.” Number 11:4-6
40 years of manna…I know I would complain too.
I visit old Modo at the clinic. He is being treated for an ulcer which caused him to be so malnourished that when we found him he could not even sit without passing out. He smiles his toothless smile as he greets me. He’s now able to walk and will be going home today.
I visit the mother Michaela brought in with severely malnourished twin babies. She is being reprimanded by the nurse for not washing her babies’ clothes or bathing them. The baby boy is whimpering quietly, and I wrap him in a clean, soft blanket and cuddle him while his mother tries to nurse his twin sister.
“I don’t have soap,” she says quietly, looking down.
“Or a washing basin, or a husband, or food, or any help at all with her five children,” I think to myself.
She might be 25…maybe.
The nurse explains to me that the mother’s milk is beginning to come back since she has had food.
“You are lucky,” she tells the mother. “These babies can live.”
The mother hides her face again.
“I can’t even say how grateful I am,” she says.
I stop to say goodbye to Anna with the broken arm, hoping she’ll understand why I can’t sit there with her until the doctor comes to set her arm. He finally shows up after 4pm. She’s been sitting since 9am, not to mention she broke it the night before. She is obviously in pain, yet she is profoundly grateful.
And it hits me how UNgrateful I am.
Yes, I am tired. From running after my seven healthy children and cooking delicious gourmet meals for my family.
Of course I want a nap. I have been up nursing two babies with my abundant supply of milk.
Yes, my baby is crying. What a blessing he is healthy enough to wail for my attention.
Yes, I don’t feel good. But I have medicine, food, and a warm house to recover in.
I am so blessed.
Blessed to be able to love, to be the hands and feet of Jesus.
God, let my heart follow my actions. Forgive my ungratefulness. Thank you for water, for basins, for soap, and for little boys who poop in their pants. You are so good to me.