Putting Others First


My mother told me a lot when I was young that I was “self-centered”.  I think lots of kids are.  I know my son is especially.  His prayers at the dinner table usually revolve around making the weekend go by slow, but fun, and school be easy, and for his aches or pains to stop.  He seldom if ever thinks about the people sitting around him at the table or anyone else for that matter.  Altruism and selflessness are difficult concepts for children to grasp because they do not come natural.

This past week Martin has been in physical pain with his poor double root canal.  He’s been driving long distances to sit around and wait and then told to wait some more.  He couldn’t talk a couple of nights because he’d been taking pain medicine and his head was loopy and he needed to sleep.  Not proud to say my first reaction was, “Really?  I’ve been waiting all day to hear how things are going and you tell me you can’t talk?”  I felt like the cheerleader waiting on the sidelines to hear the score and the team not caring enough to let you know.  Here I was with my pom poms, my cheers, my hope, emotionally invested in the drama of the game and the player just walked off the field.

But of course that reaction was all about me.  I didn’t feel appreciated for my effort.  Give some love to the fans!  But I had to realize why I was cheering in the first place.  It’s like those Chilean miners who were stuck underground for two months.  They didn’t want to become stars necessarily, they just wanted to be able to go home to their families.  They were on a mission and the goal was the priority at the moment.  Not the world who was cheering them on.

So Martin has a goal to get to America and he needs to concentrate on that goal, not me.  Right now.

I’m happy to say I came to that conclusion fairly quickly and realized the hurt I was feeling was because I was missing him, not because he did anything wrong.  Whew.  This girl is learning.

We are amazed when we step back to watch what happens during these delays.  So far this delay as given him the opportunity for an advancement at work.  He has a job interview for a better job in California on Tuesday.  He also has gotten to spend more time with Maria, his niece who is alcoholic and severely ill.

This Sunday Martin had plans to take her to breakfast before taking her to church for the third time.  But when he arrived at her home the door was opened.  He walked in to find her unconscious with vomit and blood coming out of her mouth.  She was hemorrhaging again.  By the time he got her outside the ambulance arrived.  She spent hours in ICU and I’m waiting to hear the results of her surgery.  They went in because they couldn’t stop the bleeding.  She could die.  He’s a wreck.  I’m sure her parents are too.  My heart is breaking.

I’m sure being a good uncle and brother was not on his list of priorities for this week.  His priorities were selfish.  Move to America, and start my new life.  See Livvy again and hold her and kiss her.  But God had other plans.

The pastor has been called and I don’t know if he’s made a visit or not.  I’m sure Martin is showing the love of Christ to his family in the best way possible.  By holding their hand, being there, listening, and loving them.  They know he’s also praying.

This is a man who knows how to put others first.  I respect and admire him.  He never feels worthy of the challenge and is often nervous that he will say the wrong thing or not make the most of the situation in terms of being enough help to them.  But he is something else.  I’ve never met another man as willing to get messy for others.

Instead of a cheerleader on the sidelines he’s the coach in the middle of it all.  He’s working for little pay, sticking his neck out there and might even get told off, coming up with the best game plan he can in the heat of the moment, so that his team can win.  Whether he realizes it or not.  He’s their leader and they are looking to him.

I don’t know what the result will be.  I hate suspense.  My son’s last waterpolo game just about did me in.  When you’re up by one point you just want the clock to run out.  A few times I couldn’t even watch because I didn’t want to see the disappointment on the boys faces.  Martin has been through this before with Maria.  She’s been brought back from death twice…literally.  And then they almost pulled the plug on her.  Then she appeared to be better and we were so hopeful.  She even started back at work.  But has been in the hospital last weekend and now today.  Today is bad.

At the end of my son’s waterpolo game they put 3 minutes on the clock but it was what they call, sudden death.  The first team to get a score wins the game.  I can’t help but think that is where Maria is at right now.  This is her last chance.

She’s got her coaches, her cheerleaders, and a large audience who is pulling for her.  But in the end she has to be the one to make the play.  It’s up to her.

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