Thursday, 22 March 2012

Darkness at noon

Dear Self,

How to make sense of  the tragedy of Anil?  I am going to use his real first name - since there are so many Anil's and since he is not HIV positive.

But that does not lessen the tragedy.

Anil's sister is HIV positive. Her 5 year old son is positive and has lost sight in one eye from an untreated injury caused by an accident with an ice-cream stick many months before we met them.  Her husband is negative but addicted to the bottle.

Anil has cancer.  He has hogdkin's lymphoma.  His neck was swollen with cancerous tissue.

We tested Anil for HIV since we thought the cancer in such a young man (Anil is 25) may be due to a reduced immunity.  Anil tested negative for HIV.  Small comfort.  Anil is married and has two small children.  He lives with his mother in a shack, a tiny lean-to in the shade of towering super-luxury appartments.

Anil and his sister and parts of her family have been coming for prayers on Sunday evenings. 

After a rigorous set of tests our staff started Anil on chemotherapy at the Tata Memorial Hospital in Mumbai.  He has gone for 2 cycles so far.  The initial results were heartening. There was a massive reduction in the swelling of his neck.

Then the unspeakable took place.

On Sunday Anil's uncle and another man met with him. They were drunk.

Anil had shaved his head since the chemo is kicking in and he had started losing some of his hair.

These men taunted him.  Apparently telling him "why did you shave your head?  Whose death are you mourning?  Did your mother die?  Are you mourning your own death?"

And then they beat him up.  Savagely.

Anil couldn't handle this.

He poured kerosine on himself and lit it.

Anil is in the hospital now.  He has 15% burns.  His face is all swollen up.

Will he survive?  The odds are against it. Cancer patient. Already on chemo.  Lot immunity.  Loss of precious skin.  Infection magnet.

How to understand the darkness that lurks in each soul?  The torment that so many go through?

A wise friend wrote words of encouragement for another dark experience that we went through last month (which I will write about later):   

A great sadness to carry that your friend couldn’t face life anymore. Like Job may you and the team leave the answers with the All Mighty who loves her even more than you all have over the years.

With great gratitude for each person who has felt the love of Jesus expressed by the care they have received from JSK,

We will do this.  In our darkness we will hold onto the light.  Our prayers may be weak and feeble. The circumstances around my seem to mock whatever good takes place.  But our eyes are fixed on something beyond.  A real hope in the face of apparent hopelessness.

Anil still lives.  However marred his situation is - we still will meet and pray and hope.

Time for the Kingdom to come.


March 27th 2012

Anil died this morning.  

He had been discharged from the hospital yesterday - but it seems that when he came back to his hovel he began bleeding again and so they rushed him back to the hospital.  Our staff are with his family at this point.  Very sad.

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