People often ask us if we're doctors.
During the day we may be in scrubs going from bed to bed in the Intensive Care Unit checking on our kids. Other times we might be in the operating room learning more about congenital heart defects. But the obvious answer is "no" - we most definitely are not doctors. We don't know how operate a heart-and-lung bypass machine and we don't know how to repair a broken heart.
What we do know how to do - and what we're constantly striving to do better - is love.
While the doctors are upstairs in the operating room masterfully mending our kids' hearts, we're downstairs right below them being made strong by the waiting families.
Today, I was made stronger by a sheikh from Basra who drove over 600 miles to have his grandson, Hussein, operated on through our Remedy Mission. We talked about our home towns, our families, and our work. He told me about Basra and the incredible history behind it. He told me what he loved about it and how strong and full of hope the people still are. To be honest, all I had ever known of his home was what I saw on television.
Laying right next to the Sheikh was his grandson with a newly repaired heart, thanks to you.
So I told him about you. I told him what you're standing for by supporting Remedy Mission and how we aren't just out to mend physical hearts; we're out to mend whole communities and reconcile people in conflict. We talked about ways to take steps towards creating postures of preemptive love in Basra and across Iraq. We talked about peace and what it will be like one day to have no more heart disease or war. We both longed for that day today.
At the end of our time he smiled and told me that he is the sheikh and head leader of his entire tribe in Basra. Thousands are under his leadership. He said, "When I am sad, my people are sad. When I am happy, they are happy. Because of today, I am going back to Basra happy. I am going back bringing a message of peace."
On behalf of all of us at Preemptive Love, thank you for changing the life of a sheikh in Basra and for helping save the life of his grandson, whom he dearly loves. Today, he called you "messengers of peace". We just thought you should know!
Remedy Missions are international pediatric heart surgery teams that we bring to Iraq to to perform lifesaving heart surgeries and develop the infrastructure for the future. If you're on Twitter this week be sure to use the #Remedy or #RemedyMission hashtag to describe all the good news coming out of Iraq this week via @preemptivelove and @babyheart_org. If you're on Facebook, "Share" this story with the button below.
Photos by Heber Vega.