In the words of John O’Donohue, “it would be infinitely lonely to live in a world without blessing. The word blessing evokes a sense of warmth and protection; it suggests that no life is alone or unreachable.” As I slide back into living life and doing work in our beloved home in Kenya, I am surrounded by stories and lives which I recognize as valuable. I am hoping to find words for the pondering of my heart.
She is 16 years old, a girl who mostly wants to finish high school. Her favorite subjects are biology and chemistry. As I sit down on her bed in a busy ward of the public hospital in Eldoret, quiet tears flood her face. There is the congestion of so many in need of help, the sounds of suffering all around. In the middle of the chaos, a young girl with a name and a story is being referred for hospice care. She, understandably, does not want it; but cancer has ravaged her body in such a cruel way and everything is shutting down. When asked, she says she isn’t afraid, mostly sad and disappointed. There aren’t words to make any of it ok – so I don’t try. I believe in hope and healing, in the mercy of a loving God. With the space between us, the only way I know to extend this love is to be quiet and to sit in the sadness. Staying there, even if for a moment.
The silent prayer of my heart, new friend: “may your going be sheltered and your welcome assured.”