Happiness in a Bad Place

headline_1187099643.jpgShe 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. 

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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12 thoughts on “Happiness in a Bad Place

  1. I agree, Jim. We can only shoulder a little bit of the world’s pain. But if we all reach out and bless those around us with mercy and justice, Jesus can live through us and spread His healing kingdom into lots of dark corners.

  2. Jim, this has been on my mind, also, with reference to the drought we are experiencing in TN.  Crops are lost, cattlemen are having to sell out.  Some are saying this is as tough as they’ve ever seen it.  It has made me think about other places in the world where they have been in drought for years which has led to actual famine.  When we are able to send relief to people in those situations, it must really mean a lot to them.  Thank you,

  3. hi jimI am a doctor, i know that feeling. i feel horrible too, but i have to live and work in aplace full of unfairness and sufferring so my kind learns to block it off, and slowly insensitivity creeps inno one ever walks into a hosopital and wonders how utterly depressed the doctors must be  eh:-)keep writing  love philip 

  4. Thanks Ben… Thanks Darryl… (I never thought I would see days when it is hotter in Tn. than in Texas!) Allen, I’m glad that these are words that have blessed you in some way.  

  5. Jim: Those stories both break one’s heart and warms it at the same time. My daughter spent a month in Ukraine on a mission trip earlier this year, in part working / serving at an orphange. She was devestated by the hopelessness of it all until one of the Christian missionaries told her, “Jessica, you may think your 15 minutes a day with these children means so little, but for 15 minutes a day they know that they are loved and that they are important to you.” It completely changed her perspective … not only for the trip, but in all areas of her life. She shared her testimony at church a couple of weeks ago and said she’s learning just to be where she is, in the moment, and let God do what He wants to do with her.

  6. The only thing that helps me when I’m overwhelmed in such cases is to realize that the same God that loves and cares for me, loves and cares for them.  The best way I’ve found to help in certain situations is to point them to God and share my own journey of how God was with me in my bad places.  And, of course, in cases where I can, to just be there and offer any help that I might be able to give to lessen a load