A Daily Reminder
I unfolded the morning newspaper and placed it next to my bowl of cereal, teaming with fresh fruit. It was supposed to be a quiet breakfast and a few moments with the morning news: a check of the weather, a few headline stories, a comic or two and then off to work. Instead, I found myself unable to take my eyes off of the photograph before me.
What horrible circumstances could have brought him to such a moment of despair, I wondered. Vivid memories of atrocities witnessed. Separated from his family, all dead no doubt. Herded into some make-shift refugee camp surrounded by a sea of unfamiliar and equally frightened faces. Standing now in line for food, perhaps his first meal in days, he places his little hand to his face, prematurely aged by nightmarish worries. He breaks down and cries. At that moment, the hellish realities of his world became more than he could bear.
CONSIDER, that while staring at this little boy, I thought to myself: “I have seen this child before.” I saw him running from car to car in a busy, dangerous Nicaraguan intersection. For a dime he’d wash our windshields so he could buy some food for himself and his little naked sister he was carrying. I saw him and a little girl peeping from the doorway of a mud hut on a dusty road going to a poor Nicaraguan village: dirty faced, wearing only ragged panties, large hollow eyes, swollen stomachs, chewing on a discarded piece of sugar cane. I also saw him lying in a Managuan hospital; terribly dehydrated from diarrhea, his mother wiping his face with a damp rag. That evening the family carried him home wrapped forever in a sheet!
I found myself cutting out a photo of the little Rwanda boy. I simply could not bring myself to throw it away. I did not want him to endure one more indignity no matter what how small or unnoticed. This photo serves as a daily reminder that this little boy’s tragic story is being lived out daily by millions of children throughout the world. I would not allow the easy life I have remove me even farther than the physical miles which already separate us. I have to resist the temptation of getting so caught up in my world that I forget those who suffer so in developing countries. And if this photograph helps me do that then this little boy’s tragic life will have a purpose his world would deny him.
What do you feel when you think about this child? I desperately want to take him in my arms and assure him everything will be all right. Sadly, I know I cannot nor will not. I pray to God daily that someone does. I can, however, take into my arms the children I do meet in life and the countless children through Matthew 25: Ministries! While the results of our work is in God’s hands, the effort is in ours.
Rev. Wendell Mettey