One evening I was lying on my bed, holding my daughter, who had a temperature, to my chest and hoping that she wasn’t in pain and that the medicine I had given her would take effect soon, when suddenly I had a vision.
As if through a mirror I saw an African mother. Like me she was pressing her daughter to her breast, and like me she was worried about her child’s sudden high temperature. There was, however, a difference between us because, while I had medicine and my pediatrician’s phone number in case of an emergency, she did not. All she had was the hope that the fever would go away on its own, just as it had arrived.
I saw her there, frowning, clutching her infant to her and praying to God with all her strength. Touching her daughter’s tiny body, she had only one thought: what could she find to eat and drink so that she could give her some strength. She wanted to see her smile again, without a temperature. She wanted to see her smile as she sang "Angels in the sky please help her”, one of the happy songs that her daughter liked so much,
Watching the scene, I felt terribly guilty. In a short time my daughter would certainly be better. But what about the other side of the mirror? There everything is always uncertain. There, every day, people struggle to survive, looking for food, praying that they will not get AIDS, or contract infections that no longer exist here. They even pray that they will not get something as trivial as influenza.
Instead, seeing everything as a great hassle, I complain about my own, or my daughter’s, influenza. "I can’t take time off work to stay home “, or "I can’t miss that appointment," when in reality I should only think: " What silly thoughts I have, how lucky I am to live on this side of the mirror. " I should appreciate everything I have much more: my health, three meals a day, a roof to sleep under. Things that should already make us happy, and happier still when you think that we have so much, much more.
So I thank my African sister for reminding me of what I have in front of my eyes without seeing it, and complaining for no reason. I bless my African sister and I hope that her child is better now. I hope that she is there, beside her, and not in heaven among the angels, as happens every thirty seconds to a child in Africa. I will try, in my small way, to do everything possible to help you and not just think of helping.
Goodbye sister. I hope to see you and your beautiful smile again soon.