He is there in the corner of the small video Tony took of Elias learning to ride a bike while Geraldo held him steady.
He is sitting on his own bike grinning away at my son while Elias giggles loudly and forgets to keep his feet on the peddles.
He is sitting on his own bike and his smile doesn’t give away the news that Tony waited to share with me once the little ones are sleeping and I’m curled up in my own chair.
And I hear the news and I’m frustrated that today of all days is the one where I’m sick and Zeruiah is wheezy and he sat there on his bike with that smile hiding big emotions and today was the last day that he and his 3 brothers and 1 sister would be at Madison House.
I can sit here in the dark and remind myself for the 100th time that this was what we were told – that this is a transient community and a child we would see today and for the next 30 days may one day not show up again. Sometimes ever, sometimes until the next season would come around.
So be prepared – I kept hearing this: Be prepared.
And you can prepare your mind and you can say the words over and over, but these are children and they are precious and they get under your skin and deep down into your heart and you lay awake at night praying over lives that you begin to love like your very own.
And I’m not ready to say goodbye.
I’m not ready to not have that chance and I think of the five of them and how they have played and loved and fought with my own four.
I’m not ready to not have at least one of them come quietly up beside me and just be, just to tell me about their day, just to play with Zeruiah.
I’m not ready to not see the smiles and to not hear the laughter and to not hear the jokes or the stories or the questions.
I’m not ready to not know if they are okay.
More than anything, I wish I could have said goodbye. I wish I could have reminded them how very loved they are by Jesus and by us; how amazing they are and that no matter what, God has a very specific plan for their lives.
Because you can see it – you really can. God’s Hand is there and evident on lives of these kids and you can see it on these 5 as well. God sees them He knows them.
I may not be ready to let them go, but I can trust that He never will.
I have hope that He hears and He holds the prayers that I pray for them.
I have hope that His eyes will never leave them.
And I wonder if this is what hope does – not that it numbs and deadens the ache, but that it gives it a purpose. That the ache and the hurt, when cupped by hope and filled with joy and peace in the believing – in the act of faith – that it grows a soul more tender towards Christ.
May the God of hope fill you with all <span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(T)”>
joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. Romans 15:13
I don’t want to become used to the transience. I don’t want to become used to the goodbyes. I hope each one aches as much as the first so I can stand witness to His cupping of pain with hope and faith and trust – reminding my heart that keeps growing larger and larger to pray and to entrust each one into His faithful care.
You know that the words tonight are few but that the hope is desperate and tenacious. You see sparrows and know the number of hairs on each head and You see each child that comes and goes out those front doors. You know them. You love them. You aren’t going to let them go. My helplessness can be be transformed into hope-full-ness and even in loss I can be filled with Your joy and peace. Go before them. Go before us. Weave our days with hope in You.