Going Away and Coming Home
He been sick long time, my bother can't talk no more
Tears Are Falling
He held my hand while I cried. We sat in the common room of a dirty little apartment building, sitting close in separate and uncomfortable chairs. Looking down, I saw where one of his tears had hit my hand as well, he so closely felt my pain and anger and sadness. I couldn't bare to look him in the eye at first-to see him share my weakness-so instead I stared at the cold cream colored tiles as they swirled in lakes of yet unshed tears.
Bright and early that morning my group on the mission trip had made an excursion to a different apartment complex, it looked dangerous and dirty. Us girls never went far without a guy nearby in that place. That morning my group was doing Rainbow Express (a Bible study for kids that travels to them), and so rather quickly the children started to file out of their homes. We made balloon animals and drew with chock and played games. It was a fun morning, especially when I finally got to click with a little girl.
Gretchen and Chris
At first I was scared I wouldn't get to bond with her, but I knew in my heart God had intended for me to talk to her. It terrified me having to reach out for a kid when naturally I'm horrible with them, but it was alright with her. Gretchen was ten, cute, a little pudgy, homeschooled, and a tidbit slow. It was fun to play games with her, try and teach her the Bible stories being told, and to help her learn to make balloon animals. I had never dreamed that showing a child how to do something new on their own could be so rewarding! That little girl had a heart of gold, and told me about her family, especially her big brother Chris.
Chris was sixteen at the time, and though I didn't know it then, had been in the hospital for about seven months. Somehow, he had had an asthma attack so intense that parts of his brain died. Now, a year later, he still can't speak. I never met him, but hearing his story told by a little girl who loved him, of how a vibrant life had been cut short, it sliced my heart. Inside, I was almost bleeding.
All day long I held in my sadness for their family's loss and rage at how through no fault of his own a boy my age had lost so much. It boggled my mind what it must be like to be a bright shining star of humanity, as we all are, to someone dependent. Not that there is anything wrong with it... but the process of loss seems like it should drive the strongest of all to their knees.
In the evening, when I got back to the building where we all were staying, I told two people about what I had witnessed. Both of them were highly compassionate about what had happened and they really understood it's impact. Me and my sweetheart sat and prayed together, begged God on high to heal him, to give Chris back to his family even more healthy than before his attack. We cried together over his loss, and prayed with one of the leaders of the trip who shared in our grief.
After discussing it with the leaders, we decided to bring up the subject of Chris to the whole group and ask that everyone should pray for him. Everyone bowed their heads, but only two or three people probably remembered it five minutes later. Of course, I cannot see the heart, but instant laughter after such a serious moment must have some implications.
I found out last night that at long last Chris will be coming home soon! Gretchen and her sister Katchen as well as their parents are all overjoyed. He went to the hospital in January, and now it's the middle of December, it's about time that boy gets to come home! His return, no matter how small an improvement, is worth the praise of eternity to me.
I guess I didn't really get my point across well there, but the one thing that needs to be remembered is that Gretchen was brave. She was braver than I could have been, and she deserves the whole wide world. I love her with all my heart.