A few weeks ago, our lovely 3-year-old goddaughter Sarai (in pigtails, on the left --if you look closely you can see the bandage on her fingers) suffered a terrible accident in which the tips of her second and third fingers were severed. A four hour wait for a doctor's care at a West African hospital may have cost her at least one of the fingers permanently. It's not certain yet what the outcome will be, and we are still praying for her recovery.
This has put a lot of thing into perspective at our house. Instead of rushing to the rescue, I find myself responding to cries of anguish from the backyard by simply calling out the door... "Is it OFF?" Most of the time, this brings silence, followed by a return to laughter and play as the kids, who have been apprised of and updated on their little friend's injury, remember what real suffering is.
Today, Abby came to me crying because of a teeny-weeny scrape on her finger. After a kiss and a "kiss-it-stroke-it-pat-it-bless-it" she was still carrying on quite inconsolably. Finally I told her, "Get over it, baby. Sarai's was OFF." And I put her down. She stopped crying and went off to play.
We joke about the old "you'd-better-eat-that-because-children-are-starving-in-Africa" parental lecture...but it's true. Having lived in a developing nation where malnutrition and diseases like polio and tuberculosis still devour lives each day, my thoughts turn frequently to families who suffer through war, hunger, and disease, reminding me to be very content that we can live in peace with a roof over our heads and food on the table.
In the meantime, watch out for finger-eating chairs.