Last month, one of my clinic patients missed a visit. She had faithfully come to prenatal checks without fail, and I attributed this to a need to work or entertain family from Nicaragua. The following visit I learned of the real reason. This mother, considered high risk for numerous reasons, now was jobless, which in this situation meant, homeless, and without money for transportation to clinic or the basic necessities of life. She and I had bonded over the months of prenatal visits, and I knew she and her husband were hardworking individuals. She was 36 weeks pregnant, and in a desperate situation. I drove her to the local supermarket, to buy basics to sustain and adequately nourish her baby in the last weeks of development. She put beans, rice, sugar, powdered milk, ketchup, tortillas, and oil in the cart. I urged her, and placed protein-rich eggs, four premade hamburger patties, and some chicken legs in the cart. I made a mental calculation of the items in the cart--this store did not accept credit or debit cards, so I realized only five dollars remained in my pocket. A bar of baby soap and a tiny pack of diapers would be useful. She refused a ride home, and I helped her with the heavy nonperishables, and asked several young men at the bus stop to help her on and off the bus. My thoughts ran wild, why did she not want to be driven home, would she continue to have contractions and go into early labor...oh why wasn't I more insistent...?
This client was the first one I had ever given my cell phone number to. Prompted by the Holy Spirit, and torn by compassion during one of her first clinic visits(she traveled on 3 buses, 6 hours round trip to each office visit). Missed appointment number two. Finally, word from her via text that she had no money for bus fare, no food and little money from the odd jobs her husband found as he could.
Six kilometers from my comfortable home outside San Jose, in a corrugated tin room, with a bed, a broken down crib, and no refrigerator or stove, I made a home visit which humbled me. This dear couple, a modern day Mary and Joseph, awaited the birth of their child. Displaced from their family and familiar surroundings, they were desperate to hear the good news of the gospel, and needed the compassion of others to live. Following this visit, she gave me two pounds of green beans and zucchini and hugged me tightly.
Humbled beyond words.