An unworthy Deacon, named for the brother of God: James, striving to "work out his salvation with fear and trembling" within the Tradition (paradosis) of the Eastern Orthodox Faith. It is a strange and marvelous journey, and I am accompanied by the fourfold fruit of my fecundity. My wife, the Matushka or Diaconissa Sophia, is my beloved partner in the pursuit of Theosis, and she ranks me in every way.
As many of you know, I am back in Uganda again - quite unexpectedly up until a couple of months ago. I'm now working with the Uganda Program Full-time and I could not be happier about it. However, today was an emotionally difficult day. I've talked and blogged many times about how hard it can be to see so many people suffering the effects of their cancer (and treatment) in conditions most Americans would find deplorable. I've talked about how the patients and families often just camp around the facility grounds because it is really their only option. You can meander the campus and see people with IV's for their chemo lying on the ground in obvious and profound discomfort. No fancy beds, no attending nurses...sometimes there is family to help. Conditions have improved since our program started working with the Uganda Cancer Institute, but it is still painful to see how much further we have to go. HERE are a few pics that will give some perspective.
There are a thousand scenarios here everyday that could readily lead one to just break down into tears. For me today it was young boy laying on the sidewalk - about my eldest son's age. He had had his right leg amputated at the knee and was here for chemo. I saw him and his mother walking to their appointment earlier in the day with the boy on handmade tree-branch crutches. But now, I found him lying on the sidewalk atop a small mat, vomiting into a bucket and crying. His mother was holding him and trying to comfort him. What can one do? Perhaps foolishly I paused and asked if I could do anything to help. I felt awful. I still feel awful. Receiving assurance from the mother that her boy would be okay, I slipped quickly away because I was losing my composure.
It is so easy for me to get wrapped up in the "awfulness" of my "trials" and my "suffering." But, OBVIOUSLY, I am utterly unfamiliar with suffering. I have NO right to complain. I have NO right to be depressed. Suffering is a NATURAL part of life for so many other people in the world, and for some ridiculous reason I feel the need to express my complaints in terms of "rights." As I type little children are dying of curable cancers in their mothers' and fathers' arms just up the road from here. I have seen them first-hand and I am wholly undone. I repent. I repent. I repent. God forgive me for the blind and stupid magnitude I ascribe to my "suffering" in the first world.