Sometimes, things happen at a faster rate than you can fully process.
You may not be able to wrap your head around everything taking place, but somehow you shift into fifth gear and manage to know exactly what to do.
And despite all of the intensities, it all comes together, remind you that maybe there is such thing as destiny and everything truly does happen for a reason.
Yesterday morning I was concluding my birthday weekend of relaxing with friends on the beach. By the afternoon, it felt as though the weekend was some sort of alternate reality.
Brittany and I were riding along our three hour journey back to Belle-Anse from Jacmel on motorcycle taxis, when we decided to stop and visit Anio and Noudelie's (the brother and sister we recently took into the malnutrition program a few weeks ago) mother in Baie D'Orange.
We chatted with her for a bit, updated her on the progress of her two children, (which has been incredible) and made arrangements for her ensuing visit. As we said goodbye and turned back towards our motos, two women approached us.
They recognized Brittany from our past trips and word had quickly spread through the village about the Americans helping malnourished children in Belle-Anse. They explained that there was a little girl close by who was very sick and had been unable to eat in days. We immediately followed them through corn fields to reach the home of an extremely sickly child.
Within seconds of arriving, we were greeted by at least five family members who shuffled us into the damp and dark house. On a mat on the floor lay a mother, helplessly holding her child. It didn't take long to assess her condition as "Kwashiorkor", a type of severe malnutrition brought on by protein deficiency and can frequently escalate to deadly proportions.
Our hearts were instantly overtaken by the deep, beautiful brown eyes of Jessika. A seven-year-old girl with barely enough strength to stand on her own. Here was a precious child, obviously deeply loved by her family, who was desperately fighting for her life.
It didn't take long for the decision for Jessika and her mother to travel down to Belle-Anse with us was made. As we prepared to leave, her uncle came forward and led all of us in prayer.
It was an incredibly beautiful moment of my life. Through the language barriers, I could still feel the presence of the Lord so strongly, and the man's deep love and understanding of the knowledge of the holy.
"Amen" was muttered, and as I looked up, I saw that every woman gathered had tear-stained cheeks. I myself was choking back tears, completely overwhelmed by not only the severity of Jessika's condition, but by the immense love and care this family had for their sweet little girl.
Jessika's baby sister, who would be traveling with us and was breastfeeding. This meant that I would hold Jessika as we continued our two hour journey to Belle-Anse. As I cradled her in my arms, I was consumed with a sense of responsibility, beyond privileged and honored to be the one embracing her and providing warmth and protection in her darkest hour.
Most days in Haiti, I shut-off my emotions and kick into survival mode, preventing myself from feelings anything too deeply. But as I held this child in my arms, a child whose chances of survival were unknown, it was impossible for me to hold back the tears.
At only twenty minutes out from our final destination, I realized that Jessika was getting very sick. We stopped to try and get her some water, when she collapsed and began to grow cold as her blood pressure rapidly dropped.
"We might lose her", Brittany looked at me and whispered.
All of my life I've been relatively hard-headed and stubborn. Never one to take "no" for an answer, or to let any opposition stand in the way of what I wanted to accomplish. But in this moment, as I held a dying child in my arms and watched as my friend admitted the bitter truth, I refused to accept defeat. Every ounce of my being screamed "NO!", and this time it was out of the most righteous passion and rebellion.
We got back on the motos and raced to the clinic. Never have ever prayed so hard in my entire life.
We would NOT lose her.
After several hours of giving her water infused with rehydration salts, assessing her vitals and lots and lots of prayers, her condition has stabilized and she was able to FEED HERSELF some spaghetti.
This time, Brittany looked at me overjoyed and triumphantly declared,
"She's gonna make it."
I spent last night sleeping on the floor of our malnutrition center, awaking at each and every stir Jessika made. I slept maybe a total of three hours, but awoke with a heart full of satisfaction and gratitude.
Tonight as I sit and write this post with only 45 minutes left in my 25th year, once again I am overcome by emotion.
There are so many wrong turns, bad decisions and stupid mistakes I've made in my life. So many distractions, discouragements and disapprovals that have tried to come and steer me away from the path that my life was always destined to take.
After all the things I've done wrong, I must have done something right in order to be here today. To have been given the incredible and humbling opportunity and ability to love and serve a child who could have very easily lost her life last night, and many others just like her.
The privilege to sleep on the floor of a center, which will one day save hundreds of thousands of little lives and be the beacon of hope Haiti has needed for decades.
As I say goodbye to my 25th year and embrace 26 with open arms and an expectant heart, there is one thing I can say I know for sure.
I don't know why countless children just like Jessika don't survive.
I don't know exactly why God saw me fit to come and serve the region of Belle-Anse for such a time a this.
But I do know that there is no such thing as chance and coincidence.
For everything there is a reason, a purpose and a destiny, and I am ecstatic that this road less traveled I'm walking along, is leading me through some pretty epic adventures towards my ultimate destiny.
I want to say a GIGANTIC thank you to every incredible person who has donated to my 26 reasons to CRUSH child hunger for my 26th birthday.
My birthday is TOMORROW and I am only $370.00 away from my goal. If you would like to help me reach my $3000.00 mark by the end of my birthday tomorrow, please visit gofundme.com/26formy26th.