Last night I caught the end of a wonderful documentary about Marlie Casseus from Haiti. She suffers from a rare disease called Polysostotic Fibrous Dysplasia. A 16-pound growth overwhelmed her whole face to point she could barely breathe and was about to go blind.
She was ostracized by her community - many considering her to be demon-possessed. (Some websites I've read have made much of this "primitive" reaction to her). But, by contrast, she has been well loved by her family and her church. And Marlie loves Jesus - she was able to speak about her faith a number of times. It was very moving.
A Christian charity arranged for her to fly to Miami to receive life-changing if not life-saving surgery. Here are the results:
Here's what I found so incredibly awful though.
In the commercial breaks there were adverts for the show that went on immediately prior to this documentary. The title of this other show was: “My Body Hell”, suggesting a similarly sobering subject. Not so! This other programme dealt with the ‘living hell’ of nipple hair and relative breast size. Apparently such concerns can have devastating implications for one’s date-ablility index.
It was indeed truly hellish. But not in the way the programme makers intended.
It got me thinking about those 'primitive' Haitians who demonized Marlie for her physical deformity. They've got nothing on the body Nazis of the West. We'll demonize anyone's physical imperfections, beginning with our own.
A sense of perspective please. And a sense of hope that the Christian community can be different.