Sure, just look around you, the world is a mess, and people in it are sick, hurt, lonely and lost. But they are usually an arms length or more away. The insanity is on TV 24/7, and one doesn't need to look far for someone that is really hurting. But you know, that could be you too. You could be the one that is in a tough place. It can be depressing to think about the pain that surrounds us.
I ponder some thoughts from books I have read, and one Christian author saw depravity and immorality as the perfect opportunity to share Jesus. At the time, I thought, I am trying to insulate myself from all that. I don't want to see any pain, any hurt, any evil... nope not me. How immature could I have been? Turning a blind eye to the suffering of folks in my town... the ones that I know from work, met in the store, or saw at night school. Even the odd Christian who had a hard time engaging in church. I was more concerned about me, and what was comfortable for David.
Somewhere in the dark night of the soul, Jesus really met my needs, healed some things in me and set me free. In gratitude for that I decided to reach out to another human being. In the early 80's, I would do anything to help a fellow alcoholic get to an AA meeting. One house was filled with hung-over drunks and there were guns just about everywhere. I was scared, but we talked one of them into coming to a meeting. I became sort of religious about helping certain types of folks engage with God and look for hope.
Yesterday, my wife and I received our first foster child. We spent about 10 weeks in training for this day. The phone rang at about 1 PM, and we decided to do it. JT (not his real initials) was on our doorstep at 4. We didn't know what to expect. We had training for handling the sexually abused, fire starting, poop smearing, controlling, manipulating, frightened, hurt, sick and angry children. In walks a little boy; wide eyed and inquisitive, followed by two social workers, one carrying a small suitcase with everything that he owns. A few toys, his "kiki" blanket a change of clothes; minus socks and one bedtime book. His eyes meet my 5-years-old's and they begin to talk in kid-code. Within minutes they are at play in the living room while we are briefed on the situation in the dining room.
At dinner the kids sit across from us. JT started to copy everything my daughter said.
"Daddy's a cupcake." she said.
He looked at me, "Daddy's a cupcake." he said. He looked to Charlotte for permission to laugh and they broke up. He made faces and smiled. They had quite a bit of silly talk that left us all laughing.
While I was sitting at my computer, a little face looks into the the office. "Can I sit in your lap?"
"Of course," I said as reached out to pick up our little visitor. JT showed me a couple of his minature cars and a plastic Thomas the Train. He just sat there beaming as he passionately chattered about his toys.
More playing, a movie and baths led to bed time. His mom had been able to get us a copy of his favorite book, Goodnight Moon. We were to read it to him, once in a regular voice, and the second time in a soft voice.
At 1:20 this morning he woke up crying for his mother. But she wasn't able to come for him. She's not coming, not for awhile.
I lay in bed praying, what else could I do? My wife sat next to the crib gently rubbing his head as he cried. She was crying too-- and I am sure praying.
"Yes, goodnight moon."