Her throat tightened, breath caught and tears welled up in her eyes, she hated it. Every time he left she felt her heart beat harder, slower, like it was struggling to beat the blood it needed to her brain so she could think. Always hating he put everyone else before himself, the way he stiffened at the very mention of his work.
He hated his job, his career, taking off after a few short weeks for months at a time, never knowing if he would come back. The children were too young to understand why he left, but that didn’t stop them from crying when it came time for him to go. And as much as he hated breaking his wife’s heart time and time again, and watching his babies grow without him, he knew he had to.
His wife knew his pain, understood he knew he was killing her and their family for a job he hated, and it still made her sad that he loved the difference he made and the lives he saved, but despised what he was doing to those he loved. It was his nature. Ever since he was a boy, he always wanted to be a doctor, wanted to treat the sick. When he was nearing the end of high school he got a part time job working at the local hospital changing bed pans and sheets.
The good doctor and his wife met when they were kids, were best friends up until the first couple years of high school and have been together since. She loved his caring nature, his wild compassion for everything blessed with life and a fervent zest for the simple things, what we miss everyday from routine and the impact of our culture. And for him, it was her complete acceptance of who he was to his core, always accepted his need to help even if she didn’t quite understand why, with one of the frequent outcomes was him being misused and manipulated.
He learnt tho, the hard way, that even if you can help everyone, not everyone would appreciate or respect it. He wasn’t perfect, they both knew it. Suppressed and mismanaged anger at himself and others, not only because he was smart enough to see when he was being used, but also because even though he knew it, he couldn’t help it.
After completing medical school and working at a clinic for a few short months he. Felt. Unfulfilled, so he became a missionary, and before too long he joins an anti government movement to help refugees.
And so comes the time when the bells chime, the hands move and fate dictates what happens in the next 4 months as he makes his way back to the Bad Lands, back to where his heart doesn’t stop aching, not only for his family, but for the countless others who require his services. Sick children from dirty water, men and women with gangrenous limbs who’s extremes require amputation. The young and old alike frail and malnourished, ancient men with crutches from stepping on forgotten landmines,
everything you could possibly imagine in the third world. Where we forget just how lucky we are, when our neighbours and brethren are suffering in ways we couldn’t understand. Militia running governments, rigging elections, killing anyone who doesn’t support the ruling regime at the time. People who have been chased out of their home lands with their families out of fear of execution only to be detained for months and years, often abused at the hands of those they are asking for help, asking for a new home, somewhere safe they can raise their children and begin anew and enjoy what life they have left.
Countless children stolen, sold, abused and murdered, all because we Don’t care enough about anything unless it’s in our own backyard. This is what he understood. This is what gave him a kind of Zen, a peace with himself and the world. Even if it killed him, if he was accused and captured by the militia government and tortured for helping those who would otherwise die in their country, who wouldn’t be able to jump the border without safe passage and make sure their children could pass on the story of what they have overcome to their children, then he would be happy to die. This his wife knows, and what his children will come to know when they got older, as they began to realise what their father sacrificed, not only for himself and his family, but for the thousand others who would never know the name of the man who risked it all to save them, but the countless millions who would otherwise never know he even existed and to what extent he fought.
Posted from somewhere amongst the tangled interwebs….