“The human body is more spectacular and intricate than anything else in the world. But we almost never notice it. We take it for granted until it doesn’t work. Only then do we glimpse the kind of abundant mercy found on an ordinary week with a functioning body.” – Tish Harrison Warren, Prayer in the Night
Reading this after a week where I experienced a painful reminder of the brokenness not only of our bodies, but of our collective human body magnifies just how fragile our human nature truly is. I was driving home earlier this week on a back road near our house in Karen when I saw a man drop to the ground and started rolling on his back with his legs shaking in the air. It was around 5pm so many others were walking past this man and driving by as well. As I drove past I noticed a white foam coming from his mouth. I intuited that he was having a seizure so I pulled over to the side of the road, told Amal to wait in the car and walked over to the man still shaking on the ground. As I walked over another man approached and we both confirmed that it was a seizure. At this point the convulsing slowed and a few others gathered around. I grabbed one side of the man and with the support of about 4 others we carried him over to the side of the road. Eventually he was able to stand, but his eyes were completely dilated and you could tell he was scared. He knew he had a seizure, but still didn’t know what to do, his body still not in control of itself.
He was able to communicate that his name was Kim, short for Kimani, and that he didn’t have a phone or any money. He had been out looking for work and was walking back home after no luck finding any pay for the day. I shared with the group gathered round Kim that we have a center for children with special needs, many who are epileptic. I tried calling our doctor, Dr Peris, but with no luck. Since Kim didn’t have a phone I wrote down Dr Peris’ number on piece of paper, gave it to Kim along with some money so that he could get to a nearby hospital and call Dr Peris.
This tragic event stuck with me throughout this week. Sadly Kim never phoned Dr Peris. Who knows where Kim is today. Who knows if he used the money to get aid or just to get home safely. As I sit here quietly on a Saturday morning reading, this text from Tish Harrison Warren about the wonders of the human body strikes me in contrast to Kims body failing him. And not just failing him, but most likely debilitating his entire life and eliminating any chances of a productive, healthy life.
As I reflect on this experience and think about the countless others who suffer a similar fate as Kim I am also struck with a bitter sweet thankfulness for our Ubuntu Life Foundation and the transformative work that our team does daily for people born with similar frailties as Kim. What a miracle it is that we are slowly bringing awareness and healing to these children and to their families through medication, through eduction, through physical therapy and perhaps most importantly through building meaningful community where they know that they are not alone. I sit enjoying the last of my morning coffee praying silently for Kim, wherever he is, and for the countless other human lives who suffer. May we not take our health for granted. May we be aware that we did nothing to be blessed with our healthy bodies and Kim did nothing wrong to be struck with his illness. May illness and frailty be reminders of our need for each other, for community and that one day we will all be frail and painfully aware of our interdependent nature. Ubuntu!