Monday, May 11, 2009

A Humbling Experience

"Humility does not mean thinking less of yourself than of other people, nor does it mean having a low opinion of your own gifts. It means freedom from thinking about yourself at all." ~William Temple
Dusk had crawled upon me, signalling the end to my day off from school. My mother was in America working to repay her many debtors and I was left at home with my sister. At sixteen years old I was given the responsibility of caring for my household, a duty I carried out effortlessly until that night. My sister came to me at 8 pm telling me that she needed to go to the hospital because she had been vomiting uncontrollably. I explained to her that we had no money and so she would have to wait till the weekend. She walked away without complaint, nevertheless my conscience was disturbed.

I woke up at 2 am the next morning to complete my studying for the next day of school. I listened keenly as my sister staggered into the bathroom and vomited repeatedly. I realized then I would have to take her to the hospital as soon as daylight broke. I decided to try to call my brother who worked in the capital city to see if he could help, but when I asked my sister to recall his number, she started speaking gibberish. The gravity of the situation had hit me hard, my sister was nearing comatose state, so I panicked, running to a neighbor before turning back into the house of her imminent eternal repose.

I could not muster the courage to ask for help because such help would necessitate me revealing the extent of my family's financial woes. The pride I felt for my family's status in the community was too strong. Instead, I ran to another neighbor asking to use her phone. She asked me what was wrong, having seen my tear stained face. All guards broke down, as I was forced to recall the series of events that led to me being on her doorsteps. She rushed over to the house and screamed upon seeing my sister, "She’s going to die! Lord Jesus!" I continued to sob as this Saviour prepared my now unresponsive sister for the hospital. Upon arriving within two hours she responded to treatment.

The pain of almost causing my sister’s death because of family or questionably self-pride, still rips at my humanity. However, I have learnt to do what is best for an individual especially in times of crisis without regard for one’s own inclinations. A life is too precious to be compromised with silly pride. I am eternally grateful to my neighbor who rushed to see my sister; never once thinking of her plans for that day and the inconvenience that rushing to the hospital and using her own money would cause her. Humility really does mean, freedom from thinking about one’s self, a lesson I learnt the hard way.


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