The machine (UTV) bounced and jolted as we sped along the trail. I braced myself in the back, trying desperately to keep the 2-day-old baby in my arms protected from the jostling and the wind. We were headed out to meet the helicopter as fast as we could.
The baby’s mom had come in on Wednesday, two days earlier. She was pregnant but had an infection for which treatment was started immediately. Late that afternoon her baby was born, 5 weeks premature. The baby was tiny, but otherwise doing well. The next morning, Mom had a seizure. We treated her and continued monitoring, but Friday morning it became obvious that she wasn’t responding well to the treatment we had available. We contacted the helicopter team to see if they’d be available to fly her to Fond-de-Blanc hospital.
As soon as we got a positive response from the crew, we began the rushed process of getting Mom ready for transport. We have a twenty-five minute drive to the soccer field where the helicopter lands, and the helicopter crew said they’d be there in twenty minutes. Time was of the essence.
However, as soon as we started the process of leaving, Grandma started crying and carrying on, not wanting her daughter flown out. Doctor finally convinced her that it needed to be done, but also had to inform her that the hospital didn’t want her new granddaughter along since the newborn was healthy. Grandma didn’t want to leave the baby behind, which caused more delay. We wrapped the baby up, grabbed a bottle and some milk, saying a prayer that the helicopter would be able to take the baby along too.
After everyone and everything was loaded, we took off. But just around the corner from clinic, the machine quit. Stan ran back to the mission to bring another machine, then we transfered everything over. By now, at least 30 minutes had passed, and we were certain the helicopter had landed already and would need to wait awhile for us.
We arrived at the soccer field and discovered the chopper wasnt there yet. Apparently it was running on Haitian time. As we waited 40 more minutes for them to come and land, I held the baby, thoughts swirling through my mind. Loving on the tiny baby in my arms, watching Stan and Loveda care for the mom, watching Andy play soccer with the young guys that had gathered… It was so beautiful and yet so painful.
All around the countryside was beautiful. The sun shone. The breeze was cool. The birds sang. But it was a heartbreaking ride. Mom was riding in front, crying in pain as we bounced along. Grandma, in the back, cried with the weight of her daughter needing lifeflighted and the need of finding a caretaker for her granddaughter. My heart cried for them and I prayed that somehow they could see Jesus through us, amidst their uncertainties.
It is painful to hurt with others, and yet as Christians, that’s what we need are called to do. Most of us are willing to do this, at least to some extent, but are you willing to see the beauty as well? Recognizing the beauty, even while you feel the pain, intensifies both the beauty and the pain in an inexplicable way, making both of them harder to process. Are you willing to love unconditionally, to embrace pain and beauty, and to trust that God knows what he is doing, both in your life and in the lives around you? Are you ok with the possibility that “You will never be completely at home again, because part of your heart will always be elsewhere. That is part of the price you pay for the richness of knowing and loving people in more than one place.”? (Miriam Adeney)
Go for it. Step outside your comfort zone. Give everything you have, no matter how hard. And when the emotions are too much for you, take them to God, who created us to feel deeply, and allow Him to use them for His honor and glory. -Alayna Mullet