Thursday, August 14, 2008

The Ones That Got Away

So here they are - Kristiana's girl is named Paisy, and my boy, who is learning English, refers to himself as "Charlie" - the ones that chose Kristiana and me as the recipients of their smiles, their love, their handholding, and, in one case, their prayer.

Yes, my dearly beloved Carlos prayed for me. I met him on Wednesday afternoon. We walked and talked together for about an hour. Then when I saw him again on Thursday, he said he had prayed for me the previous night, that God would bring me back to him safely. Again, how could I not fall madly in love with this child?

On the day that our group split up into six groups, five of which went around giving out vouchers for meal packs, Charlie walked with my group. When we crossed barbed wire property lines, he lifted them up so I could go under. When we walked quietly from house to house, he held my hand in silence. Whenever I looked down at him, he smiled at me with a love that emanated from his soul. But at the end of the day, his family had not received a voucher. He didn't complain but rather explained that he understood that there weren't enough for everyone. I apologized profusely for the oversight, gave him a warm and tearful hug, and also a few dollars so that his family could buy food for themselves. His gratitude overwhelmed me.

As he walked away from me for the final time last Thursday afternoon (Do you see his red shirt off in the distance?), I wept openly. A lot like I am doing now as I type this. I cannot think about that boy without crying.
Why me, I wonder? Why did he choose me?
(And why didn't I let someone take a picture of me with him???)

Kristiana told me that she felt a little odd at times when she was with Paisy because, unlike many of the other Nicaraguan children that crowded around our group, she didn't talk much. She wasn't constantly clamoring for an interpreter to help her ask Kristiana a question. She just walked with her, holding her hand, looking up at her every now and then, but mostly just being contented with the quiet love that my daughter so freely gives.

When Kristiana explained her discomfort to me, I laughed and said, "You two are perfect for each other. Not much to say, just a lot of love to give." I squatted down and spoke to dear Paisy in Spanish: "Paisy, this is my daughter you are walking with. Like you, she doesn't talk much, so you two are perfect for each other. You can spend all day together, doing crafts, playing games, just being together, and you don't have to say anything." Sweet, beautiful Paisy looked up at Kristiana, smiled broadly, and kept a tight grip on her hand.

When we returned home last Saturday and shared these stories with Steve, my dearly beloved husband, his first question was, "Why didn't you bring them back with you?" I wish we could have. Then again, they are with us in our hearts and will always be. And hopefully, someday, somehow we can get back to Nicaragua, find Paradise, and be reunited with Paisy and Charlie, the ones that let us get away.

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