Jane wakes me with a panicked cry. I hurry into her room to find our 21-month-old daughter burning up with a fever of 101.3. I scoop her out of her crib, calm her down the best I can, and get some ibuprofen in her quickly. I rock her hoping she will find relief. I lay her down in her bed, but my sweet girl just isn’t having it.
She wants her mama. And, truth be told, I am happy to oblige. I bring her into our room, and pull her close to me. I stroke her head, sticky with sweat. I kiss her head obsessively while breathing in my child’s sweet smell. I hum quietly in her ear. It doesn’t take long. Soon, sleep comes, and I feel her rhythmic breath.
Then, seemingly out of nowhere, the tears come.
I weep. Silently, but gut wrenchingly.
I do not cry for my daughter.
I cry for Alondra, Luckson, Eduardo, John. I cry for a hundred more.
The orphans and vulnerable children we serve at Back2Back, the faces and names etched in my mind, weigh on my heart.
In my sweet moment with my daughter, I feel the loss, so immensely, for all of the kids we serve. To know they don’t have their mama rushing in their room. To know their dad doesn’t walk through the door, face breaking into a smile when he sees them. Oh my heart… my heart breaks wide open.
Truth be told, some days I wish I didn’t know. I wish I were naïve. It would be easier.
Some days, my head says to my heart “try not to let it sink in too much”. I consider, for a moment, treating the kids like I imagine a surgeon treats a patient while they are under the knife. I think maybe I should separate myself emotionally to protect my heart.
Here’s the thing, though. My heart knows the real Truth. And the Truth tells me to cry: To cry often over the injustices in the world, to cry for the motherless and the fatherless. And then, wipe my tears to fight for the defenseless, to lift up the cause of the orphan child and to extend mercy. Endless mercy. To remind them they are not, have never been, and never will be fatherless. They are not forgotten.
Psalm 68:5 Father of orphans, champion of widows, is God in his holy house.