I waited patiently for the Lord. He inclined to hear my prayer.
I wish to convey the commitment of the volunteers and the trust of the Guatemalan people and the Mayan people who come to the Obras looking for healing. I see the fleeting look in the eyes of the people. And just as I start to capture the query, the concern, the fear, the relief, and then the understanding of the process expressed in their expression and body language. . . that one one thousandth of a second is gone, never to be captured. To watch the translators lean in to hear every word the physician is explaining. The surgeon must trust that skill of the translator to convey the meaning of the words so the patient is understands the benefit, the risks, and of the choices one has. The strength of the fabric of compassion, commitment, and care is built on a delicate balance of communication, understanding, and trust. It is critical for the celebratory outcome. There is a series of facial expressions of a woman intensely listening the translator and yet watching the face of the physician as he speaks. The woman’s husband has covered his face trying to be brave and comprehend what the outcome might be. Not one picture could tell the story as it humming birded past the lens of my camera. My heart saw, my head understood, but the reaction time of the photographer to the camera felt like slow motion to the emotion whisking by.
Today I sobbed. I have had the privilege of coming with a Faith In Practice team for 5 years. I have watched teams of Obras hospital employees and Faith In Practice volunteers breathe every breath in measured consequence of what impact they will have on the life of the individual who has placed their trust in them. The tiny four year old child had a huge mass by her spinal column. Hours of preparation, diamond cutting precision for an outcome worthy of celebration was the focus of the team. Surgery was over and the child cried. Rejoice, it is the sound of a healthy newborn. She has come back from the sleep of anesthesia and an intense surgery. She is wake and life itself is the miracle. Her elf like stature now wheeled into recovery. The recovery nurses, anesthesiologists, surgeons, instrument representatives, Obras staff, and even the photographer volunteers are all buzzing around like attentive honey bees caring for the queen bee. Large droplets of concern rained down her tiny angelic cheeks and timidly in hushed tones she calls out mama. The baby bird like call was so gentle as not to be heard at first. The precious tiny magic fairy of a child called again mama, please mama. The translators went for the comforting suave that only mama could give. The small child’s wait for her mama was excruciating. Relief mama arrived and caressed her cheek. The sobbing instantly stopped letting us all know: Everythings gonna be alright! Everyone in the room orchestrating the symphony of care and timing, even the photographer trying to capture the crescendo of a successful surgery melted away in avalanche of joy filled sobs. May the photos help to explain the importance of compassion for one another. At the end of the day what really matters is the love of humanity that each of us is capable of if only we are open and vulnerable enough to let the person next to you know that you care. Let your neighbor know that you at some point in your life you have walked steps similar to your neighbor.