Sunday, May 12, 2013

Stop For The One

I spent an hour today at the Mother Teresa hospital in my neighborhood, which cares for sick and very malnourished babies. 46 little white metal cribs, all numbered, in rows. A flurry of Haitian caregivers and a handful of visiting volunteers greeted us when we walked in: fixing plates of baby cereal, feeding babies, changing diapers, and giving medicine.  It was overwhelming, heartbreaking, and oddly soothing. 

Sometimes when you find yourself in the middle of a situation where there is great need everywhere you look, it's easy to identify the one with the greatest need. Other times you have to seek out the one who needs what you have to offer. And then there are times, like today, when the one who is in need goes after it and stops you in your tracks. 

I had finished feeding one little peanut, and succeeded in making another one "fache avek mwen" (mad at me) for trying to wake him up to eat. I came to the end of the first row of cribs and stood talking to another American volunteer for moment, until I felt two tiny little arms wrap around my waist. She had pulled up on her knees to reach me, because her little legs are too weak to hold her up standing. I picked her up and her little feverish body curled up in a partial fetal position with her arms sprawled out across my shoulders. No cry, no sound, no expression at all, really. She just clung to me like a little monkey and stared up at my face. 14 months old and probably not more than 10-12 pounds. A few minutes of just staring at each other, then I started to sing to her. She suddenly became this animated bundle of grins and giggles. She kept touching my face, poking my eyes, trying to stick her fingers in my mouth, laughing every time I pretended to take a bite. I set her back down in her crib, but she would not let go of my hand. She kept turning it over, inspecting each finger and clapping. Then she grabbed my hand and put it over her face, clearly indicating a game of peek-a-boo was in order. I reluctantly pulled away when it was time to go, expecting her burst into tears like the little one in the crib next to her the moment he was set down, but she didn't. Her face turned serious, but she just watched me walk out the door. She knew what she needed, and when she received it, she was okay to let go. Love touched her. She was changed. And so was I... 

1 comment:

  1. O, Kyle, my heart is breaking..Thank God He knows of all these little ones, the least of these. And thank God for the heart He has created in you & your obedience.