--A child paralyzed by a fall from a tree, now bed-ridden, admitted with pressure sores. Hard to imagine going from a healthy active 7 year old to complete confinement in one's body.
--A woman who brought her large-headed newborn to our hospital, the premier neurosurgical service in Africa (and possibly elsewhere as well), hoping for a surgical cure. He arrived extremely dehydrated and dangerously close to death, and our doctors and nurses pulled him back from that brink and got him feeding and stable. But then we did an ultrasound of that boggy bulging head and discovered nothing but water. There was no brain above the stem. Enough to suck and cry and make primitive motions, but not enough to see or hear or talk or sit or live. We sat with the chaplain and prayed for her as quiet tears fell down her cheeks, facing this shocking inevitability about her son.
--A three-year-old hit by a motorcycle, who will probably die today.
--A baby who is sleepy and twitchy, his little brain having been starved for oxygen because his umbilical cord slipped out in the birth process before he did, and his mother had to bounce from two other hospitals until he reached ours to find working doctors and an emergency C-section.
--A mother of a tiny premature baby who has braved 50 days in intensive care. He's grown into a cute little person who is beginning to feed and squirm and hold onto life. But she has problems at home she won't disclose, so she's begging to leave with him, even though he's not fully ready. Putting us in a difficult position of not wanting to ruin her life, and not wanting to risk ending his.
--A lovely couple with their floppy 1 1/2 year old looking for answers, this precious boy smiles with delight but can't sit or stand alone, or talk other than grunts. Both husband and wife in the exam room, articulate, puzzled, hoping we'll have the magic shot or pill.
--A 9 day old whose body succumbed to overwhelming infection, the powerful bacteria multiplying and growing and consuming him from the inside out. We lost the battle slowly over a number of days.
--Then there are the burdens of our own kids and other MK's, sometimes homesick, sometimes coughing, sometimes staying up too late and getting up to early to meet expectations, sometimes struggling to know and be in a world that is complicated.
Jesus said His yoke was easy and His burden was light. That can only be because He is the one upholding all these precious sufferers. I certainly can't. This world is so broken and yet so beautiful, flowers and courage and sunlight in spite of all the sorrows above.