Last Friday as the clock was approaching bedtime, Abram, our youngest, decided that he wanted to try for an award that no parent ever wants for their child. I heard the crash, like a loud thud, and the following cry of a child trying to find his breath. The cry became loud quickly, so I went in to make sure everyone was ok. With three boys and a girl who is more fiery than them combined, crashes aren't uncommon. I comforted Abram and interrogated his brother, the likely suspect. The real problem wasn't visible yet. Having Eli explain that it was an accident and with Abram seemingly calming down I left the room. Again, we see our share of crashes. But the crying became louder and a bit more frantic. This time upon returning to the room I saw blood, a lot of blood.
Having a child with an injury requiring medical attention is bad enough, but living somewhere where you are still very much a foreigner compounds everything. "Where do we go? How do we get there without a car? I don't know the number to an ambulance and even if I did, my French phone skills seem quite poor when thinking about a bleeding child in the next room..." But this is where God's provisions began to become very apparent.
We live in a very diverse neighborhood. We are blessed to interact with people who are nothing like us everyday. When we're asked who our neighbors are, we respond with "Well, we have Jewish neighbors, and Muslim neighbors, neighbors who are French and neighbors who are refugees." While Jesus walked this earth, a Jewish man asked Jesus this very question. "Lord, who is my neighbor?" Jesus told the story of the good Samaritan where all the normal roles were reversed. If he told this story today in the US it may be that the Priest, Pastor and Sunday School teacher were all in the wrong, while the Muslim or athiest might be made the hero.
I called Issam, our language helper, and neighbor, who happens to be Muslim. He informed us where to go and met us at the hospital, which we were actually able to walk to. He helped us find the entrance (which was way harder than it should be for an emergency room) and got us checked in. Then when we took Abram into a room that he was not permitted into he waited and waited and waited. He didn't leave until we were released with Abram hours later. We felt safe and in control with him at our side. His companionship this weekend comforted us in what could have been a stressful situation.
So all said and done, Abram received an award
for good behavior in an emergency room this weekend. But this is not really the point of why I
write it was just the catchiest title I could come up with. Instead Issam our Muslim neighbor won our trust and friendship by simply acting neighborly to a couple foreigners not like himself. If acting neighborly is an award it is one I hope our children win often.