She is only nine months old but her picture has been seen around the world. Baby Fatima was found in the garbage on July 25 in Iraq. Her mother and uncle had been executed at close range by gunmen. Some speculate that perhaps her mother hid her to keep her from harm.
Her brother, however, managed to contact authorities who took the baby to the 28th Combat Support hospital in the "Green Zone" in Baghdad. She was dehydrated and malnourished at the time. Military nurses fed, held, and nurtured the baby. Later, one spokesman referred to her as "…happiness in a bad place."
What father or mother can look at the pictures of this child and not be moved?
For me, this child’s picture has been a reminder of people everywhere who happen (for whatever reason) to be in a bad place. At times, I find it all overwhelming.
- When I go to the hospital, I am often reminded of the many, many people who suffer daily from intense pain and crippling diseases.
- When I go to a nursing home, I am sometimes reminded of the numerous people there who are very, very lonely.
- When I talk with a person whose parents are divorcing, I am reminded of the conversations I’ve had with many people who have been so deeply hurt by moms and dads who walked out on the family years ago. I think especially of the conversations in which adult children told me of parents who felt abandoned both physically and emotionally.
- When I hear a person reflect on her bondage to alcohol or drugs, I am reminded of the the hopelessness I’ve seen in so many people who struggle with this. These people often feel like they absolutely have no hope.
- When I hear a person talk about growing up in an abusive home, I think about the many children whose childhoods are marred by violence and neglect. I will never forget the two girls who came to my office one day with their foster parents. These children wanted me to know what they had experienced in a previous foster home where the people were abusive. One child told me of living with a very cruel woman who would take her and her sister to McDonald’s only to make them sit in her car while the woman went inside to eat. Meanwhile, they watched from a distance as this cruel woman ate.
All of this is overwhelming. However, I can live one day — one moment — at a time. I can be fully present for the people with whom I come in contact. I can pray that God will use me and use others to make a difference in my little corner of the world. I can be used by God to make a difference in one person’s life.