Monday, April 21, 2008
A Distant Pain
Volume 3, Issue 4
April 21, 2008
-A Distant Pain-
…on grieving from afar…
13Then little children were brought to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples rebuked those who brought them.
14Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these." 15When he had placed his hands on them, he went on from there.
I met Dan several months ago. His uncle, Vincent, became one of my best friends in Uganda. Dan’s father, Chris, also became a friend. Over time I spent more and more evenings at Chris’s house, playing with Dan and his other brothers and sister. Soon Dan became very attached to me, and I to him. He would knock on my door almost every day, usually several times each day. His English skills were not the best, and long after I told the other children to go home, Dan was still there – smiling, laughing, waiting for me to play with him, just one more time, and I often did.
Dan was almost always happy, except for the time when he hurt his foot. After that incident I often carried Dan in my arms, from place to place. He was such a little boy. His affection was great. He was one of my favorite children in Uganda. I loved that boy.
Yesterday I read of Dan’s death. Another victim of malaria. Another child that his father has lost, I think this makes five. Another face, another smile, another laugh – gone from us now.
Sitting here in Baltimore, I feel so very alone in my grief. I know Dan’s family is greatly grieving, as are many of the World Harvest Missionaries in Uganda. Death has taken its toll in such a place, killing many, especially children. But sitting here in America, no one close to me knows this boy. No one here has seen his smiling face, sat in his house, played with his guinea pigs, gone swimming with him in the river.
I called his family yesterday, to comfort and confirm the devastating news to be true. Only the day before Dan’s death, I called and talked with his uncle Vincent. I asked Vincent about Dan and his other nephews and nieces. He told me they were all doing well. “Tell them I love them and miss them greatly”, I said. Now I miss them even more.
Readjusting back to American life has been harder and slower than I predicted. I didn’t know exactly what to expect, but I know more than anything else I have been grieving the loss of relationships. My friends in Uganda can not sit at a computer and type me a message, or hop on a plane to visit. Unless I go back to Uganda, there are many locals there that I will never see again. But, I do know that I will see Dan again. When we meet there will be much dancing and joy. The little boy with a hurting foot, two missing front teeth, dressed in his new school uniform that he was so excited about, and his new black shoes just purchased a week before I left Uganda, will not be the same boy I last saw here on Earth – he has undergone a heavenly rebirth. Come Lord Jesus, come.