Monday, June 9, 2008

Old Lady

No, I'm not talking about myself when I say "Old Lady," though I keep inching closer to that status. Today I helped relocate the patients awaiting cataract surgery from the pilot entrance to the recovery room. One of the women I led down the hallway was named Old Lady. What's with a name like that? I wondered what it would be like to call a baby Old Lady or if perhaps she had started out simply as Lady and picked up the adjective as she aged. And if she picked it up as she aged, when did she cross the magic line? According to WHO, average life expectancy for women at birth here in Liberia is currently 46; in neighboring Sierra Leone it is 42. Approximately one of four children in these countries die before they reach their fifth birthday. Startling, isn't it, in this day and age?

I've been thinking about age recently. My great uncle sent an email last week notifying my siblings, cousins and me of what would have been my grandfather's 100th birthday if he were still alive...but he died before I was born. I'm a year older than my grandfather was at his death. Sometimes I think of all he did with his short life and wonder if I have done enough with mine. I can only say that I have obeyed the call of my Father in heaven and given back to him what he has given to me. I confess it hasn't always been done joyfully nor has it always been done as quickly as perhaps it should have been, so don't think I'm anyone special! I'll be the first to tell you I'm not.

I had NO intention of going here with this post when I started...I was just going to tell you about Old Lady. Together with 25 others today, Old Lady received the gift of sight. And today someone cared enough about Old Lady to find out what her real name was, the one they called her as a child. Once upon a time there was a young girl named Denae (sp?), who grew up, grew blind, and received back her sight on a white ship in Africa. And for a little while today I had the privilege of walking beside her.

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