Head tilted back with sunglasses balanced on his upper lip appeared to be a new game he’d just discovered.

A nudge and a sharp look from his sister and immediately he put the glasses back in their proper place.

He couldn’t have been much older than four. Running to catch up to their mother, whose eyes were also hidden behind dark glasses, they slipped into an office.

It wasn’t long before they were escorted back outside and told to wait. Their deception was unacceptable. Those with pink eye will not be attended to.

My stomach sank. There were two empty seats beside me.

The mother took one and the girl pulled her brother onto her lap and took the seat closest to me. I reached for my hand sanitizer as the red-tainted eyes of the little boy followed my every move.

One by one the security guard questioned each person in the crowd wearing sunglasses. He made it clear that anyone with pink eye should leave now and not come back until their eyes were clear.

My attention went back to the red-eyed boy. I saw his pain and his sadness. I sanitized my hands again, smiled politely, and went back to reading my book.

I’m against public shaming and should have felt some degree of empathy for them. But with the thousands of cases of pink eye here in Belize my compassion has worn thin and I felt angry that the mother put everyone around her at risk.

My mantra has been “keep your hands clean and don’t touch your eyes”. So far I’ve been successful in avoiding this modern day plague.

I long to be like Christ and look at others with eyes of compassion. But, some days are harder than others. And I have to confess that day was hard. A five hour wait at a government office drained all the compassion out of me.

Before the pink eye family sat down near me I was wedged in between my sleeping husband on the right and an American woman who was talking loudly while clearing her throat of phlegm every third sentence on my left. Behind me was a Spanish speaking gentleman who kept bumping my chair. Each time we go to the Immigration Department it’s a lesson in endurance, humility, and patience.

I’m grateful that God’s love is unfailing, that His grace is sufficient in my times of weakness, and that His mercies are new each morning.

I’m grateful that no matter what illness, bad attitude, or frustrating situation I find myself in, God’s compassion is still available for me.

And just as I used sanitizer to cleanse my hands from germs, I can confess my sins, be made clean, and find peace in His presence once again


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