Today, my Wednesday and your Thursday night, it was Father John’s last day with us on the volunteer team as he headed back out to Australia tonight and in my opinion, that’s a big loss for us as Father John’s bag carried with it 15 yrs of experience and Bengali that had a way of massaging the police to the point where they’d be asking to make another appointment. Here I thought when I said goodbye to the restaurant industry I was also saying adios to the high turnover associated with it, but wouldn’t you know it just so happened to follow me all the way to India as well. High turnover and the “it’s just a part of the business” explanation behind it makes a lot more sense to me here than it ever did in the restaurant industry though.
While volunteering today, I had the pleasure of witnessing a pretty hysterical “Mak Tock” moment when Father John took us to a cathedral in the area for a brief moment of solitude. Prior to even stepping foot into the church, you could see Mak Tock glowing and I’m not sure if this glow was more spiritual in nature or if it just came from him savoring the fact that he knew his bare legs from the waist down would never be allowed in the church if it wasn’t for him being with us. Either way...Mak Tock loved the experience and the holy water at the church even more as he put enough water on his forehead to bless him for the next 10 lifetimes I think. As Father John put it after seeing this, “that wasn’t a blessing that was a baptism.” If the day would have ended here, I would have had no complaints, but we weren’t that lucky. Fast forward. Play.
At Kalighat, a patient was brought in today where as soon as he arrived for treatment; he passed and went on to the next life. After this happened, I couldn’t help but wonder why I didn’t feel more emotion, like the kind you see in the movies, but I didn’t. Out of fairness to myself, I know this shouldn’t be something I beat myself up over, but still, it bugs me to think more emotion comes out of me from a Gonzaga turnover in basketball than it does when someone dies right in front of me. In a situation like this, the only way to put a positive spin on us not being able to save this patient was that we gave him more of dignified death than what the streets would have offered him and he may have arrived in dirt and a beard full of lice, but we made sure that he went to the grave clean and shaven. Can’t say knowing this, takes away the desire of wishing someone could have gotten him to the center earlier, but when there are thousands dying and only a few doing the saving, I guess it’s inevitable that this kind of scenario will happen from time to time.
After a quick run to the pharmacy for some lice treatment, I got back to the Salvation Army hoping to see my clean laundry waiting for me from the guy I gave it to a couple days ago, but as I conclude this writing, I am doing so with my sleeping bag liner wrapped around myself in the same fashion as I’ve seen Indian men wearing a cloth garment over here. It kind of looks like a skirt to be honest, but that’s how they do it over here so give me a break. Well gotta go to the bathroom for about the 6th time today compliments of that dish I ate at the Salvation Army a couple nights ago. Take care and hopefully my next writing will find all of you in good spirits and me not wearing a skirt.
P.S. Happy Birthday Dad!