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May 28, 2009

  • The Rainy Day
  • --Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
  • The day is cold,and dark,and dreary;
    It rains,and the wind is never weary;
    The vine still clings to the moldering wall,
    But at every gust the dead leaves fall,
    And the day is dark and dreary.
    My life is cold and dark and dreary;
    It rains and the wind is never weary;
    My though still cling to the moldering past,
    But the hopes of youth fall thick in the blast,
    And the days are dark and dreary.
    Be still,sad heart!And cease repining;
    Behind the clouds is the sun still shining;
    Thy fate is the common fate of all,
    Into each life some rain must fall,
    Some days must be dark and dreary.

May 11, 2009

  • The bombs landed  in the small village. Nobody knows what these bombs were supposed to hit during the terrible Vietnam War, but they landed in a small orphanage run  by a missionary group.
  • The missionaries and one or two children were killed, and several children were wounded, including one young girl, about 8 years old, who suffered wounds to her legs.
  • A couple of hours later, medical help arrived. The medical help was a young American Navy doctor and an equally young Navy nurse. They quickly found the young girl to be very badly injured, and it was clear that without immediate action, she would die from loss of blood and shock .
  • They saw that she had to have blood, but their limited supplies did not include plasma, so a matching blood type  was required. A quick blood typing  showed that neither American had the correct blood type, however, several of the uninjured orphans did .
  • The doctor spoke a little Vietnamese, and the nurse spoke a little high-school French. The children spoke no English but some French. Using what little common language they could find, together with a lot of sign language , they tried to explain to the frightened children that unless they could give some blood to their little friend she would certainly die. Then they asked if anyone would be willing to give blood to help.
  • Their request was met  with wide-eyed silence. Their little patient's life hung in the balance. Yet they could only get the blood if one of the frightened children would agree to give it. After several long moments, a little hand slowly went up, dropped back down, and a moment later went up again.
  • "Oh, thank you," the nurse said in French. "What is your name?"
  • "Heng," came the reply.
  • Heng was quickly laid on a bed, his arm cleaned with alcohol, and the needle inserted into his arm. Through all of this Heng lay stiff and silent.
  • After a moment, he let out a long sob, quickly covering his face with his free hand.
  • "Is it hurting, Heng?" the doctor asked. 
  • Heng shook his head silently, but after a few moments another sob escaped , and again he tried to cover up his crying. Again the doctor asked him if the needle in his arm was hurting, and again Heng shook his head.
  • But now his occasional sob turned to a steady, silent crying, his eyes held tightly shut, his fist in his mouth trying to stop his sobs.  
  • The medical team now was very worried because the needle should not have been hurting their tiny patient.  Something was obviously very wrong. At this point, a Vietnamese nurse arrived to help, and seeing the little one's tears, she spoke rapidly in Vietnamese, listened to his reply, and quickly answered him again. Moving over to pat his head as she talked, her voice was gentle and kind.
  • After a moment, the little boy stopped crying, opened his eyes, and looked questioningly at the Vietnamese nurse. When she nodded, a look of great relief spread over his face.
  • Looking up, the Vietnamese nurse said quietly to the Americans, "He thought he was dying. He misunderstood you. He thought you had asked him to give all his blood so the little girl could live."
  • "But why would he be willing to do that?" asked the Navy nurse.
  • The Vietnamese nurse repeated the question to the little boy, who answered simply, "She's my friend."
  • Greater love has no man than this, that he lay down his life for a friend.