October 21, 2013 – Day 2 – The Mosaic
Today I have been deluged with the stories of children – more children and stories than I can count. From the maybe one (or two) year old severely malnourished boy at a top-notch crèche whose mother holds a consistent vigil by his side as he fights for his life. To Rene, whose is doing well, is taller than me (which isn’t hard for most people but is no small feat for him) and who asked me for a bike. To Davion, the boy in the U.S. foster care system who made news last week because he begged for a family at church and made news again this week as his social workers announced they had received 10,000 inquiries about him and guaranteed he’d be placed with a family. To Kieran the 14 year-old twin boy I knew many years ago in South Africa, who I learned passed away from health issues a few days ago. I struggle to choose a story to tell, to choose a child whose life’s toil represents more about the life of a child whose parents struggle to care for them more than the others, whose story may grab you more than the others. That’s when it struck me, just as my life and your life cannot be summed up in a few short lines of a story the lives of these children cannot be summed up in a few words in a brief moment in time. Their lives are a roller coaster of trials and tribulations, many of which I will never begin to comprehend and could not possibly explain. Their “stories” cannot be summed up this way because each of them are growing young boys who have hopes and dreams, have laughter and tears and have indescribable joys and pain. A life is not a short story, it’s an odyssey. Instead of one story shining as the beacon, their stories have become a mosaic in my head, twisting and turning as I struggle to understand why each of them were given such great crosses to bare. Overwhelmed with it all, all I can do is send out my hopes and dreams, little prayers, for all of these boys…
To baby A…may your feeding tube continue to work so that you can be fed with a spoon instead. Your mother who holds a vigil at your side, may the two of you have a night where you sleep soundly with you safe and healthy in her arms. May you go to school and become a wonderful man.
To Rene…may we use the contacts we discovered on this trip to ensure you are in the best situation for you – whatever that may be. May you become the strong young man I see developing. May you get that bike you want (but scares the living day lights out of me).
To Davion…may you have the loving, nurturing family everyone, including you, deserves. May you finish high school, graduate colleague and use your life experiences, strength and courage to influence law makers, social workers and others to ensure children don’t have to go begging for a family.
To Kieran…my head and my heart are still struggling to understand and believe your passing. May your heart, soul and body have found peace. May your smile and laughter continue to light up a room. May you still send your twin brother, Jesse, comfort and laughter in whatever way you can. May he figure out how to continue on without you, his beautiful other half.