Saturday, June 19, 2010

Light and darkness

Thursday was a day of disappointment for a 37-year-old man, José Adán, who had received cataract surgeries during our May eye surgery mission. The day before he was scheduled for surgery, José Adán got a required blood glucose test, and discovered that he is a diabetic. The doctors chose to do the surgery anyway, in hopes that his vision could be restored. Because he had a young man's lens - it's gooier, I gather, not a medical term! - all of the clouded lens couldn't be removed, and he needed followup laser surgery. The surgeons thought his chances of having his vision restored by the laser surgery were very good. Meanwhile, José Adán got into treatment for his diabetes and got his blood sugar levels down to normal. Yesterday I gave José Adán and his faithful friend Carlos, who has been acting as his guide, a ride to an eye clinic for the laser surgery. I hoped to see him walking out without needing Carlos' guidance, but that did not happen. Because of the condition of his eyes, probably affected by the undiagnosed diabetes, the laser surgery will give him, at best, a minor improvement in vision.

José Adán is a true gentle man, and in spite of his great disappointment he had nothing but thanks to give the doctors who tried to save his sight.

I was primed for this technological miracle that was going to restore his sight. Like so many North Americans, I love those flashy solutions that have been my people's specialty for more than a century. Again, again, El Salvador is teaching me to put my faith in God, where it belongs, and not in "the work of our hands." It does matter that we tried to help José Adán, even if we were not successful. Success isn't what really counts.

All this was underscored for me when I read yesterday's gospel, from the 6th chapter of Matthew:

Jesus said to his disciples:

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth,

where moth and decay destroy, and thieves break in and steal.

But store up treasures in heaven,

where neither moth nor decay destroys, nor thieves break in and steal.

For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be.

“The lamp of the body is the eye.

If your eye is sound, your whole body will be filled with light;

but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be in darkness.

And if the light in you is darkness, how great will the darkness be.”

José Adán's eyes are not sound, but still he is filled with light. I ask your prayers for him, that he may get as much improvement of vision as possible, and that he may continue to walk in the light.

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