I don’t like thinking about people living in poverty, suffering from illness, broken from crises, aching in their hearts. I like to ignore that those people exist. I pretend life is comfortable, easy, safe, and okay.
Then there are those moments in life that can never be shaken. That forever mark a memory. The moments where you finally realize that there are real people out there who need real help.
I think those moments are different for each person. For some, it might be going to a third world country and admitting that starving orphans have names and are more than simply pictures on a commercial. For some, it might be serving in a homeless shelter and finding commonalities with the toothless, bearded man you handed shoes to. For me, it was walking through the family housing and cardiovascular intensive care unit (CVICU) at Arkansas Children’s Hospital this past Monday.
I never wanted to know about the 4th floor at Children’s hospital. To be honest, I still don’t.
As we sat in the family room waiting for our tour guide, I saw other mothers’ faces. Faces that I’ve seen on Facebook pages. And I connected the pictures of their babies tangled in tubes to the exhaustion in their eyes. Then we strolled the halls of the CVICU. I saw more babies, more rooms, more families, more heartache, more need, more helplessness. And I know those tired eyes and aching hearts will be ours in a matter of weeks.
But I know more than that now too. Now I’ve seen the faces of the heart babies waiting for a miracle. The faces of their parents asking why. The faces of despair. And now that I know, I have a responsibility.
There were other faces I saw on Monday. The face of a pediatric heart surgeon. Compassion emanated from his eyes as he spoke confidently, knowledgeably, and respectfully about his plans for our Annie. I saw kind, smiling nurses loving and holding babies. I’m so thankful that this medical team hasn’t made the choices I have of naivete or denial toward the hurting. They’ve seen a great need and embraced it.
But in all these people, the face of the heart I really saw that day was God’s.
As I looked into each of their dark eyes, God asked me if I would be the one to share His hope. If I could be the one who doesn’t live in denial anymore. If I could be the one to connect with them, relate to them, and tell them He is still good.
I know He can do that through me. Because He goes before us and has us on this journey for His purposes.
“Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble at them, for the Lord your God is the one who goes with you.” -Deuteronomy 31:6