The Beauty in Death

Two years ago I traveled to Pallisa, Uganda with the group Akia-Ashianut to work with the doctors and nurses of the Agule Community Health Center.  I learned a lot about life in those four short weeks living among the people of the community.  It was there that I first felt the heartbeat of God, living through the people of the land.  It was there that I learned to dance, to move to the rhythm of God.  It was on those grounds that I felt the touch of Malaria, as well as the healing hands of others.  It was there that I experienced death and learned how to live. 

There are moments in life that one never forgets.  These images are burned into our minds, and will be until the day we die.  These are moments in which we learn to embrace or run away from until they eventually consume everything we are. 

In the beginning of our second week at the clinic, I was in the Doctors office helping to screen patients with Matt and John, the  P.A. from Uganda who worked at the clinic.  I dont remember if anyone else was there when the little girl was brought in by her parents.  Her mother collapsed to the ground and the father didn’t make eye contact as Matt and John checked her over.  We knew something was wrong. 

And there before my eyes, she passed away.  Malaria. 

I couldnt understand how God could take a life away that was so young.  She was months old, barely into life when death took her.  I was angry and hurt.  And for a long time, I struggled to understand the will of God. 

There was nothing I could do as I watched Matt give her the dignity in death, covering and wrapping her in a shroud.  I stood there, paralyzed as the mothers cries of pain echoed throughout the clinic, piercing my soul.  I can still feel the hallowed eyes of the father as his gaze drifted, lost in a sea of pain. 

These things still haunt my sleep.  I still hear that cry piercing my dreams. 

I began to understand when I began to accept what happened.  I processed it, asking God for guidance.  I found that life and death are ways that God brings us towards him.  He teaches those around us, though these moments of pain and suffering, to come to him and find strength. 

I shed tears that night, and many nights that followed, but I now see the beauty in it.  Death is a gateway to something greater.  As we pass from life to death, we learn how to live to the fullest.  I found that physical death led me to spiritual life.  It took me seeing the suffering of the world to open my eyes to the glory of God that was hidden deep within the heart. 

I still find myself asking God why.  Why did he choose me to be witness to this event?  Was there another way?  God knew and knows that we have just enough strength to turn towards him and rely on his strength.  When things happen, when death is revealed, we find ourselves naturally asking why, when we should be asking Him what he is trying to teach us. 

Looking back on Uganda, I find that God was trying to show me so much about life, death and his will in both, but I was too caught up in the questions.  God has a plan.  He gives us joy, shows us sorrow and teaches us what it means to live and die. 

It was the experiences in Uganda that put me toe-to-toe with my faith.  It was death that has taught me the most about living, suffering that revealed joy, and the darkest nights that broke into the brightest daylight. 

God Bless and PEACE


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