I think there are moments where there is a crack between this world and the heavenly, where for a few fleeting seconds all is right, pure and good and we experience peace and joy so deep there aren’t even words to describe it.
This morning I went to the White Orchid home for mentally handicapped, a small and quiet compound about 20 minutes from the busy port. A handful of people ages 5-40 live in this community with a staff that teaches them, cares for them and ensures their basic needs are met. We get to partner with them and play. Really not a bad deal if you ask me.
We spent the 90 minutes coloring, playing catch with balloons, singing songs and the Eye Team joined us to educate and pass out sunglasses.The older people came back one by one from their eye “appointment” and we all clapped as they strutted into the little sitting area. And when I say strut, I mean strut. I wish I could have taken a video, the look of pride and confidence as they walked back was another heart smile. A new pair of nondescript sunglasses means nothing to us but to them it means everything. This is a gift and it is theirs.
There is one man who is missing a leg on top of everything and even if he can’t put his left leg in to shake it all about, he still smiled big and found a way to turn himself about in the Hokey Pokey. Another man in his 30’s with palsy maybe couldn’t physically do the chicken dance but he got the tune down real quick and was singing along with us. A sweet little girl who can’t talk or walk still got to play Tick, Tick, Boom because Mia picked her up and held her, being her legs and voice during the game.
And there was this little guy who stole my heart.
We spent 15 minutes playing catch with a balloon and watching his determination to get that balloon each time it floated near him, that was enough to bring a smile to my heart. But later when we sat outside and he clumsily climbed into my lap and settled, that made my day. We sat there together, him holding his new sunglasses and balloon taking everything in and me singing along to Father Abraham and Jesus Loves Me.
But the moment where heaven broke through was when he climbed down and started playing again with the balloon, chasing after it as it floated aimlessly. Maybe 20 of us sat under a thatched roof and sang How Great is Our God. These precious ones played or rocked to the tune, some clapped and some screeched while we sang, some just smiled. But it was a divine moment where I looked at my new little friend and was overwhelmed by the goodness of God… maybe he is facing a life with struggles I will never understand but he was created with great love and care in the full knowledge this would be his life. And now he lives in a place where is cared for and taken care of and looked after and, for the next two years, each Thursday Mercy Shippers will come and play with him. He is safe where he is and he will continue to be safe.
As always the time to leave comes too soon and it’s hard to pull myself away, with one little guy sitting on my lap and another snuggled in next me, even drenched in sweat I think I could have stayed like that all afternoon. After we got back to the Land Rover Mike reminded me that even though we don’t do a lot, just color some pages and sing some songs, to them it means the world. I’ve got a little secret to share, those 90 minutes mean the world to me too.