One Lone Life
Slowly I entered the cholera ward. The stories I had read of the disease wiping out entire populations did not comfort me. Knowing that cholera, if caught in time, was quite treatable did not alleviate my fears. However, to adequately assess the hospital’s needs, the visit was necessary.
The most memorable experience from this particular trip was my visit to that cholera ward and the old man I saw there. He seemed so alone lying there in a corner of that dingy room. No one sat beside him attending to his needs, or anxiously pacing the floor. The thin tattered sheet which covered him could not hide his emaciated body covered by aged and weathered skin. His bed was a military stretcher propped up by four metal stands. A rusty IV pole held a shriveled up IV bag. Its life-saving contents were all but gone with no prospects for more. His clothes, perhaps his entire earthly possessions, were contained in a plastic bag hanging nearby. His shoes, worn and laceless, most likely never to be worn again, were neatly placed beside his bed.
With determined speed, I entered the room. I raised my camera. Certainly to show the people back home the conditions here; but more importantly, a feeble attempt not to allow the passing of this one lone life go unnoticed.
One lone life. A difficult, hard life, no doubt lived out in some remote village on some distant mountain. The days of his life were all but used up now. The passing of time resulting in this twisted mass of humanity before me. Was there no one to grieve his passing? No one to acknowledge his worth as a human being by at least pausing a few moments by his bed? It was a profoundly troublesome sight and experience.
And yet, there in that cholera ward, standing bedside that old man, I felt a sense of reverence; the presence of God. This would not lessen the pain of his leaving or condone the conditions which brought about the man’s suffering. But, CONSIDER, it was a confirmation of the worth and dignity of every human life and renewed my determination to be there wherever people are suffering.
Unfortunately, there was nothing to be done for this particular man. His passing went unnoticed by the world around him. But because of the millions of pounds of medical furniture, furnishings, products and supplies Matthew 25: Ministries ships yearly to hospitals such as this, conditions are improving for hundreds and thousands of other patients in developing countries and remote regions of our own US.
Rev. Wendell Mettey