Sunday, March 27, 2016

Soy Renegona

“Soy renegona.” “I am a person that gets angry.”  A phrase I hear a lot here.  Without shame, they explain this fact about themselves to me.
              In front of me was Maria a 19-year-old single women who was coming to me for the second time.  Her last visit, a year ago, I treated her for Gastritis/Reflux.  She explains that she got better with my treatment and now is with the same again.  I also try to address lifestyle causes, but the second time I try even harder.  She explains to me that she’s a person that get angry.  I glanced at the part of her chart that lists the religion that she claims: “Evangelical.” 
              Many doctors, including Christian doctors, feel that you shouldn’t tell your patients what to believe or what religion to have.  But I haven’t found anyone solution in my life to this problem.  So we talked.
“Why do we get angry?”
And she gives me her list.  There’s always a list.  Especially here.  We get angry and we worry because there are things we are trying to change that we have no control over.  In the moment that we realize that we have no control we either feel angry or worried/anxious.
In the world of science and medicine we know that people who worry and get angry (i.e. Type A people) live less years and suffer more health problems.  So what am I supposed to do?  Tell my patients, “don’t worry. Don’t get angry.”?  That’s it?  Right.  You have to give them another option if you want them to stop worrying and stop getting angry.  I tell them the only way to not get angry and anxious when you can’t control situations and people is that you know and trust that someone CAN control them and IS controlling them in your favor.  The only solution I know is trusting in God, because I do not know anyone else who is in control and cares that much about us.
“But I studied so hard to get into a university and I didn’t and my friends who didn’t study did,” protested Maria.  The high school only goes until 11th grade here.  Then they have to study for a year before they’re ready to enter universities.  David’s youngest brother, Josue, just took his exam the enter the field of psychology in a university in Lima. He prepared for a year.  There were thousands of people trying to enter 28 spots for this degree.  After his exam, David and I went on line to see if he got accepted.  On one of more than 15 lists of names we found his name.  This list was at least 50 names long.  We searched the “M”’s for his last name….and next to his name “Accepted.”  Not one other name on that page had those words.
To enter these universities, it doesn’t matter what you’ve done, who you are, or what you want to do with your life…just your score matters.  I understood Maria’s anger.  But especially as a Christian it’s not acceptable. It’s a lack of faith and trust in God and his control over our life.
“Who makes a better teacher? The person who entered the university the first time who didn’t study or the person that had to study twice and only finally got in the second time?” I responded.
“The person who studies twice.” Maria quickly responded.
“Who are you to get angry at God, at the system. How do you know what God has planned for you….”
And we continued to talk about the injustice in the world.  Things a lot worst…..Danny, the 11-year-old student of David has now been missing for 3 weeks. This is the third time he’s run away from home.  The last time he said he was looking for his dad.  Danny lived with his grandparents. His mom had him and his 13-year-old sister with one dad and his 4-year-old brother with another dad.  She’s left the three of them with her parents and is living with another boyfriend and his kids more than 6 hours away.  This week Danny’s dad showed up after 7 years.  Danny’s older sister denounced their grandparents as abusive to both her and Danny (their grandparents make their money from 3 bars that the run).  She was about to leave with her dad when the Diospi School teachers and director went to the judge to complain because no one knows anything about the dad.  And her dad had just showed up for the first time in 7 years.  So Diospi is trying to find their dad work here so that Danny’s sister is in an environment that she knows and is known if there are problems.  And Danny still has not been seen in weeks….
And as we talk about trusting God and getting to know God I watch her spirit lift through her eyes.
“My mom is even worst with the same thing”---the gastritis---“But she’d not interested in God..” And so we talked about how the peace that flows from her when she finds her confidence and security in God is evident to all who are around us.  And seeing and feeling that peace creates a thirst in their life for God.
And Maria left free---no longer a “renegona.”

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