Via his blog at the Peoria Journal Star, Dr. John Carroll writes a very personal post about Knocking and Begging.
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.”
I went to Mass last night and this verse from Matthew 7:7 was in one of the readings. I thought this reading was especially appropriate for me to hear because I do a lot of begging and knocking on doors and it is a very hard and disruptive thing to do.
Poor Haitians beg a lot too. They ask you for a lot and are relentless. And during the course of the day it can get on your nerves and wear you down. They ask you for a little money, your watch, your camera, your cell phone, your computer, and a radio station. Yes, a poor Haitian man (who had been deported from Guantanamo) asked me for his own radio station.
And Haitian women frequently beg you to “take my baby” because they can no longer provide for them. I was offered two babies last week. And this means that they can no longer feed them or provide the care that they need. And they know that I can. These Haitian mothers are willing to give up their babies permanently to someone they hardly know. How demeaning can this be?
But why wouldn’t very poor Haitians ask for “stuff”? Why wouldn’t they ask for favors? What do they have to lose? If I were in their sandals, I know I would be knocking, and begging, and pleading too.
The only reason I don’t beg in Haiti is because I don’t have to. But I HAVE to beg in the US. And what I beg for is help for Haitian kids who need heart surgery. And you know what? I dislike the entire process and almost everyone I know does too. It can be very demeaning here too. But the power of the images of child and the mother’s face usually wins out and pushes us to plead for help.
And when you ask for help you frequently don’t win tons of friends. And who do you know who likes to be asked to approach “Joe-The-Rich-And-Affluent-Guy” who sits on the prestigious Medical Center Board of Directors for help with some pathetic random Haitian kid in a slum who will die unless he has heart surgery. Neither “Joe” nor the person that asks him for help have ever seen the child or looked into the eyes of the child’s mother. And they probably never will.
It shouldn’t be so painful to fix correctible heart problems in the richest country in the history of the world located only 90 minutes away from one of the poorest countries in the history of the world. I am “knocking” as Matthew tells us to do, but am tiring out quickly. Something needs to change.