India 2017 – And It Ends…Or Does It Have To?
As quickly as this mission began it is now over. We are all home and slowly processing the events of our week in India. In the last few days I have spent more hours on a train that I want to admit; countless hours traveling home and several jet lagged coma induced hours since I have been home thinking about how I can wrap up our mission to India in a few paragraphs. I want so badly to honor the work that our team did that I want to carefully choose the right words. Please, if I miss don’t let it diminish the accomplishments of the other 25 members of our mission team.
We live in a society where we measure everything in numbers. We track statistics, wins and losses and sometimes lose sight of the bigger part of the story behind the numbers. Yes, 136 surgeries, numerous consultations, hours of working with the local medical staff, learning from each other and hundreds of pages of art done by our team and the patients are significant achievements to remember and to feel very proud of. The mission was a success beyond anyone’s imagination. That story alone could carry this entire blog but I am feeling something more and I think others from the trip are to.
One afternoon I had the opportunity to visit the National Association for the Blind, Bhopal Division. While there, a few of the children performed a song. One boy played a small portable piano and the other played the bongos. As they sang the song, in their native language, I noticed the other 25 boys would smile when it seemed like they were at the chorus. I leaned over and asked the headmaster what they were singing. He told me it went something like this, “We are mere mortals. The length of our time here is not for us to know. Share your happiness now. Be of service now. Be the best you can today” After they finished he told me that the Indian people want to offer their absolute best and practice kindness and hospitality to strangers. That is why the children smiled during the song. It reminded them of how good they can be. That they have an opportunity to serve and that they should not wait to offer kindness as time is not ours to determine.
In a world where it is easier to turn the other way rather than offer help a small group of Medical Mission Foundation volunteers spent hours late into the night seeing and operating on as many patients as they could fit into a very tight schedule. Over the course of the mission week I watched our team practice kindness to people they barely knew. They cared for people they have never met and probably will never see again. They pushed all of the struggles from the travel and fatigue out of the way to be the best they could for that time but time travels so quickly and there is more work to do. There are more missions to come and more people to help.
As our team completes the challenge of reentry I would share with you that we all have an opportunity to use our time wisely. Our week in India is over but our chance to serve does not need to end. The children of India, challenged with no sight have a clear vision to what we sometimes fail to easily see. You don’t need to travel around the world to practice kindness. You don’t need to have a medical degree to share happiness with those around you and be of service to someone in need. Time does travel so quickly and it only takes one small act to change the life of someone you barely know.
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