"He who can reach a child’s heart can reach the world’s heart."
~ Rudyard Kipling
So . . . . what would you do? Have you ever been face to face with a child that is wounded, broken, alone, and frightened? Did those missionaries in Haiti do the wrong thing . . . . or the right thing? What would you do if you were in Haiti, watching the chaos, terror, hunger, and exposure traumatize these small children? I guess I don't know what the answer is. I do know, however, that I have looked into the face of a tiny girl in a Chinese orphanage, as she stared past me with empty eyes that seemed to know only neglect.
Her vacant eyes eventually made contact with mine, at the sound of my voice, and one little tear escaped and slid down her grimy cheek. Her thin, matted hair made a crooked, wispy little crown around her angel face . . . . but her tears mixed with the dirt on her face, and her runny nose, all told a much grimmer story. Should I have picked her up and brought her home with me? Well, I would have, if I could have. But we were in China to bring our second daughter home, and we were told that we were only allowed to adopt one child at a time. Another trip, another year, another king's ransom to the Chinese government for the privilege of adopting one of the baby girls in their orphanages. And we were told there would be absolutely no possibility of returning for that particular little girl.
As I reached out and touched her cheek, she began to sob. Silently. Strapped onto the potty chair, with several other babies in the room, she just sat there and stared at me with her tiny tears dripping from her cheeks and chin. And then my husband touched my arm. "They are watching you," he said as he subtly moved his head in the direction of the orphanage director and the village authorities. "I think you better come out of here," he said as he pulled me to a standing position. I looked back into those dark eyes, felt the tug of a mother's heart, and desperately wished that there was some way, any way, to scoop her up and bring her home with us. I felt my husband's strong hand holding my arm and leading me away from the baby room, and I willed myself not to look back again. But that face haunts me yet. What could I do? What SHOULD I have done?
I have done what has been put in front of me to do . . . . . but I so wish I could have done more, especially on that day as we drove away from that Chinese orphanage. Yes, we have two beautiful daughters who are the love of our lives. But there are so many more. And what about the babies in Haiti? Do you have an answer? Because I would like to know, and I definitely do not know what is the right thing to do in Haiti. Our hearts always cling to the belief that we will choose to do the right thing. But what should you do when you can't figure out what the "right thing" is in a particular situation? I know . . . . we should always obey the law. But what about in a situation where there appears to be no law, no authorities, no semblance of governmental order and structure. How would we even KNOW what to do in a situation like the chaos in Haiti?
But all of this confusion will never change the truth and reality that those who are given the privilege of touching the heart of a child, does indeed, have the opportunity to touch the heart of the world. Whatever comes of this very sad and unfortunate situation in Haiti, I choose to believe that these missionaries were doing what they thought was the right thing for the children. But then perhaps you've never been in a situation where you made a choice that you sincerely believed was exactly what God would have you to do . . . .only to discover later that, although your intentions were absolutely noble, you had accidentally taken a wrong turn on the pathway of life. Happens to the best of us.
Please take a minute to visit the other IOW participants this week, and maybe even invite a few friends to join us. And if you have a blog, post your thoughts on this quotation this week and then come back and leave a link to your post so we can come and visit you.