There were two phone calls the other day that touch the core of what we are doing at Jeevan Sahara Kendra - and the hidden reality all round us.
The first call came on my mobile phone. It was an unknown number to me. I answered it. The person said that he had got my number from the net and had a question about HIV. 'Ask away' I said, and the voice on the phone told me that his relative was sick and had been admitted at a hospital where they did an HIV test. He is now found to be HIV positive and they really do not know what to do. He is running a fever again.
I asked whether the patient was able to walk around and was told he is. So I asked the man on the phone to come with the patient and meet with Dr. Sheba tomorrow. We will understand the situation and guide you on the next steps I told the person on the phone. They live in a distant suburb on the western side - but we know folks there who are also doing home-based care. Talking on the phone does not help much. Meeting face to face, understanding the person's history, doing a physical examination, holding their hands, listening to the often tear-washed stories... all of this means so much.
The second call was from Shanti, one of our staff. She had called up the relatives of Tamin (name changed obviously), a young 21 year old orphan who also had HIV and was racked with TB. Tamin's relatives had brought him to us last week. We had admitted him for observation but medically had little hope for him since at the end of an 8 month TB treatment he was still sputum positive for TB. He had come to us in this condition and we asked for a sputum culture test to be done. Reluctantly, we discharged him on Saturday for follow up home-care.
Sadly, when Shanti called his relatives, they told her that Tamin had passed away today. This was a shock to us - though the writing was on the wall. How we wished we could have met Tamin earlier. That we could have helped him be regular with his TB medicines, that he would have had hope in life instead of despair and loneliness. How sad that this young man's life is now over. What a tragedy.
Is there any hope at all in this often dark world? Today marked the beginning of a relationship with one man - and the end with another. Where does our hope finally come from, esp. in the fact of loss and tiredness and dryness?
Our help is from the Lord. Look at what the disciple John writes out Jesus: Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, "If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. "He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, 'From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.'" (John 7.37-38).
At the end of the day. At the end of a day like this, we need rivers of living water to flow out of each of us - and all of us together! Come Holy Spirit and guide our hearts and actions, let the rivers of living water flow out of our rock-hard hearts...