It looks about the same to the outside world.
Anyway, I woke up this morning with absolutely no intention of doing anything outside of the status quo. You know--a social worker visit, some school work, a little Baby Signing with Oliver, watching a movie with my kiddos. My husband is out of town this week, so we're on a relaxed version of the normal routine, which is a relaxed version of a routine to start with.
Then the phone rang, and there was nothing I could do but say yes. Say yes to what? To a little three year old girl who had just witnessed an INS raid that left all the adults in her world in handcuffs and on their way to the US/Mexico border. She arrived in the CPS office at 9 a.m. this morning, speaking not a word of English. She's probably a short-term foster--not the foster-adopt we signed on for. Just a little one in need--dire need--for a few days or weeks. Could we help?
Could we help? I have an empty bed sitting in Jo's room, know enough Spanish to get by, and have cupboards full of food. Can I do something to make this terrible time a little better for a child?
As if I could say no.
Today in our Sonlight read-aloud, I choked up. This happens fairly often, but the topic today hit my heart like a hammer. A little girl in the Great Depression is told by a young hobo that her house bears a mark labeling it drifter-friendly. Go here, the mark says, if you want some food or need a little help. The girl finds the mark--written in chalk--on the side of her house. She points it out to her father and tells him what it means.
Keep in mind that this was during desperate economic times. And that these were transients coming to the door, passing through with no ties. Could be good guys, could be bad. The father in this story could have gone around and gotten his garden house and sprayed the chalk off of his house. He could have told his wife to quit giving sandwiches to every beggar that came to the back door. He could have put up a no trespassing sign.
But this man got a bucket of white paint, and he made sure that the mark on his house was permanent.
That brought tears to my eyes. This man opened his eyes to the needs around him, and he said yes. Use me, Lord. Use the gifts you've given me, use the resources you've put at my disposal. Yes.
I got the phone call about the little girl about four hours after reading that passage. It was still fresh in my mind. The minute I heard the situation, I pictured a wiry, Italian father scraping by as best he could hefting a bucket of paint and heading for the side of his modest house in a not-so-great neighborhood. If he could say yes to a dirty, ragged drifter at his back door, how can I say no to a skinny, brown-skinned little one sitting alone in a CPS office?
So tonight, five children are sleeping under this roof. Three have known nothing but love and comfort from the moment of their birth, and even before. One was severely neglected and is learning what it is to be smiled at just because. And another is an absolute unknown.
She needed a place to be safe, and we can at the very least give her that. I am thanking God tonight for the riches of macaroni and cheese and beds and pillows and a glut of teddy bears that can make wide-eyed little ones smile. Our Father has given us so much.
I may be crazy, but I don't think so. I think what I really am is blessed.
Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one who sent me. Mark 9:37