Sick in the Guat

It’s March, month 8, day about 240 in the Guat and I finally had to go to the doctor.   As I’ve documented my time down here I’ve noticed one fact, most of the other teachers down here weren’t able to stay away from the doctor quite as long as I did.  Until last week I didn’t really know what going to the doctor in Xela meant.  I walk past the small fenced in private hospital every day on my walk home from the gym, but my goal was to say fenced out.  Alas, my body betrayed me and after six straight days of hell in my stomach I finally crossed the fence and found out that at the private hospital, you do private things.  

Day one of being sick, before I made my trek to the hospital, I thought I had the flu.  I’d come down with the chills and a temperature, which I thought I could beat.  I mean I’d held out on falling into the life of the infirm for so long, why couldn’t I fight this off and get healthy without the help of a doctor?  Unfortunately, my self diagnosis was so far off that I dehydrated myself and caused some serious problems for my body, but I didn’t find this out until day six.  So from day one to day five I assumed I could fight it off with plenty of rest.  

On day two I went to work, gave a test, and nearly passed out.  Everything was rushing through my body and I barely made it home that night.  I might be sounding a little over dramatic, but I felt as though all my energy had been drained out of me and flushed down the toilet.  That night I made my way to Kristin’s house so I could watch her dog while she was out of town.  Kristin’s dog, Calli, and I have a special connection, she’s my second favorite dog in the world, so as soon as I walked in the door she knew I was sick.  All weekend as I wasted away she did her best to comfort me.  During the nights when I couldn’t keep myself warm because of the chills she curled up next to me and shared her doggy warmth.  It was a blessing to be able to stay at Kristin’s house all weekend.  I hate being around people while I am sick, they don’t share the unconditional love dogs have.  Unluckily the weekend ended and I was still sick.  
On Monday, day five, I thought I could teach again, but by the end of the day my chills had returned.  It was becoming clear that I needed the help of a doctor.  The next day, day six, I forced myself to go to school so I could get a ride to the hospital.  A couple of my co-workers demanded I have myself checked out because, as they said, “I looked like death.”  So, I taught my classes and then made my way to the hospital.  That night I found out that I didn’t have the flue.  My next guess was the common stomach ailment of parasites or amebas, but it wasn’t those either.  
On day seven I was informed that I had a major infection in my intestines, which I guess, according to some of the other teachers, isn’t that bad.  But I’m not so sure where they received their medical degrees because I’d like to disagree with their statement.  If what was wrong with my stomach wasn’t that bad then I never want to contract anything worse.  To kill off the infection I was placed on some gross medication and told to eat bland food for a week.  I lost 10 pounds to this infection and learned that I should go to the doctor at the first sign of illness.  I also learned that no matter how carefully I eat down here in the Guat somethings are still going to get you.

May My Eyes See the Glory of the Lord

I’ve been reading on the roof of my house lately. It’s dirty up there, full of laundry lines and cat scratch, but I like it because I can see the city I live in. Xela’s a busy city and from my rooftop I can see people walking her streets, cars swerving around those people, and street dogs fighting over bags of trash. This is the physical world I live in, but I long to see so much more. I want to see with my heart and be open to the spiritual world.

Have you ever thought about what it might be like to be blind? When I was little, I used to be afraid of going blind. This fear typically surfaced after I’d been reading and my eyes would’ve focused in on the words, then I would look up and my surroundings would be a little blurry. This sacred me out of reading for a while. I’ve never wanted to wear glasses. I’m 25 and I still have perfect sight and I’ve always prided myself on that fact. I love being able to see God’s creation. The blues, greens, reds, oranges, and browns that paint the landscape of my life are colors I don’t want to live without. But lately I’ve been thinking about how there is more to life than what I can see. So what would it be like to be blind?

I’ve been reading “Pilgrim at Tinker Creek,” by Annie Dillard. It’s a hard book to read. My vocabulary isn’t that big and she hits on some real deep issues. One of the chapters deals with sight. She talks about how people who are blind from birth and then regain their sight have a hard time with spatial reasoning; the thought that a blind person may not be able to judge sizes and distances had never occurred to me. Without sight your connection to the physical world would be based on your other senses. Your understanding of the world would be completely different. As a person who can see I describe my experience living here on Earth by telling people about what I see. A blind person might describe their experience living here on Earth by telling people what they feel, physically or emotionally.
I might be wrong, but I think a blind person might be more in tune with God’s creation at times because he or she isn’t distracted by sight. In “A Wrinkle in Time,” by Madeline L’Engle, there are creatures that cannot see. They’re not blind because to be blind you would need to be created to see through eyes. They don’t need eyes because they sense everything. I’m reading this book with my sixth graders and when I read through the chapter with Aunt Beast, one of the creatures that can’t see, it hit me that there is more to my world than what I can see. We live in a spiritual world too.
I live in a world where I can only see the physical. But as the apostle Paul says, the physical that we can see doesn’t last but the unseen is eternal. L’Engle uses this quote in her book. She has Aunt Beast, the unseeing creature, utter the words, which I find interesting because Aunt Beast seems to be able to see the unseen. Minutes later I read this quote by Paul again, in another book I’m reading, “Waking the Dead,” by John Eldredge. Mind you this reading occurred on my roof in a single day. Like I said I like to go up to my roof and read because it is warm and I can see the mountains surrounding the city. I had just put down “A Wrinkle in Time” and picked up “Waking the Dead” and I was still thinking about not being able to see. It so happens that the chapter I’m on in “Waking the Dead” is titled Eyes of the Heart. Eldredge is talking about how we need to see with the eyes of our heart.
What does it look like to see with the eyes of your heart? This is just what I’m trying to figure out. I love being able to see, but I want to see more. I want to be in tune with the world the way Aunt Beast is in “A Wrinkle in Time.” I want to be able to see the glory of the Lord. I know that God has a plan for my life and I know that my heart and not my eyes will be able to see it. This is the prayer that I have for my life. That I slow down and look for God in everything. He is there and my heart burns when it senses him, but my eyes are unfocused and can’t judge what they’re seeing. I’m a blind person who has just received his sight and is having a hard time with spatial reasoning. I want to be like a blind person and rely on my other senses. Right now I’m looking at something that is totally foreign to me and I want my eyes to see the eternal glory of the Lord.