Thursday, February 16, 2012

No Regrets

Today I have regret.

Remember Linda?  She is a precious little special needs girl that I fell in love with.  I wrote about her in November here.

I hadn't been to visit her for quite some time, and finally went last Friday.  She wasn't out front with her mom, Leann, like she usually is.  Leann said Linda was sick and motioned for me to follow her down a little alley that led us to their one room "house."  I paused outside while she got Linda.  She handed me her sick frail little body and I held her.  She could barely keep her eyes open or hold her head up.  Her skin was sagging off her tiny bones.  Her feet were swollen.  I sang to her, and sensed that she was dying.  I wondered if it was from malnutrition.  To my left were two little neighbor girls sitting in the dirt outside their one room house with a rusty pile of tin next to them.  I stood there rocking Linda, the somber little scene searing itself into my memory.

For some reason it didn't strike me until later that night at home that she needed to go to the hospital.  I decided to pray on it over the weekend first before just marching in as the white person to save the day.  You have to use a lot of discernment when meeting tangible needs in Haiti.  As I prayed, I felt the go-ahead from God to bring her, yet didn't act in any urgency about it really.  I looked at my schedule for the week to see when I had time and didn't have a chunk of time in the day until today, Thursday.  I thought Wednesday when I was in the market buying food for Natilia I'd pass by and make the plans with Leann for Thursday.

So yesterday, hands full of bags, I stopped to chat briefly with her about it.

"I think Linda needs to go to the hospital.  It's free for children at St. Antoine's.  If there's any cost though I'll pay it.  Do you know where it is?"
"Yes."
"Do you want to bring her yourself, or do you want me to go with you?"
"I want you to come with me."
"I don't have time until tomorrow afternoon.  I'll come back then and we'll go."
"Okay, thank you."

And I left.  I showed back up at noon today.  Leann wasn't sitting out front like she usually does, but was sitting in a chair at the back of the alley leading to their house.  She motioned to me.  And I knew immediately- I was too late.  I walked back to Leann and she started wailing.  Linda had died last night at 8:00.  I hugged her and rubbed her back and listened to her anguished words between her sobs.  She calmed after awhile, and wanted me to come see her.  I follow her inside the house.

Linda's lifeless body is wrapped in a blue sheet on top of a little board on the cement floor.  The other kids pull the sheet down and I see her precious little face, frozen in death.  A long white worm is coming out of her nose.  The kids pull it out, throw it on the cement, and cover her back up.  Another memory seared in my mind.

We quickly arrange for a casket to be made.  The man comes to measure her- 40 inches- and goes off to make it.  Leann is grateful, yet devastated.  I tell her Linda is in heaven with Jesus now, healthy, happy, dancing.  I share the gospel with the rest of the people standing around, family and visitors, and tell them we can see her again one day too.  I make plans to come back when the casket is finished.

I cry when I get home and the lesson hits clear as day- when God puts something on your heart, don't delay in doing it.  Do it right away.  I waited, and then it was too late.  Oh the conviction sets in.  The regret.  I let the "busyness" win.  And Linda died.

I know God's sovereignty covers the whole thing.  I'm not beating myself up.  He is in control and I trust that completely and am covered in His peace.  Yet I feel He allowed the whole thing to happen as He did to teach me some very important lessons, and I don't want to miss them.  I have been reflecting hard, and there is much God is showing me.  More than I have space for here.

But the thing I want to leave you with is this:  What has God been nudging your heart to do?  To reconcile a broken relationship?...  To help a friend in need?...  To visit your lonely elderly neighbor?...  Don't delay.  Don't let the busyness crowd it out and miss your chance.  We don't know what tomorrow will bring.  Live with no regrets.


"Whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow..."  ~James 4:14a

Linda in November.  She loved to listen to singing, and now she is singing with Jesus and angels.