Walking hand in hand with some little ones, off to the clinic down the street to get some chest x-rays I hear it, "Hey Ate Brittany!" I turn my head, but my smile always beats my eyes, because as soon as I hear the "Hey" I'm smiling big, because I know this voice, and there he is at my side.
I come home from running some errands and he's there just chatting with our security guard, he comes to greet me and I smile. I ask him how he is, most days he's 'ok lang', some days he's hungry, some days thirsty, and in typical little boy fashion, sometimes he tries to get what he knows I won't give. I see the mischief in his eyes as he asks me "Ate Brittany, give me money.." Each time my answer is always the same, "You know I don't give you money. If you would like something to drink, I'll go fill a bottle of water inside for you... If you're hungry, let's walk to the corner store for some bread, or I'm sure there's some lunch left, would you like me to bring you out some?" but even though my answer is always the same, I never know what his will be. Some days, he's a stubborn little boy and wrinkles his nose "No..I don't want water.. I want Coke!!" or "I don't want food like that.. I want McDonalds!!" I laugh and say sorry.. you know how I am. But somedays he looks at me and just says a quiet "..yes". I know on those days he's truly hungry. I wonder how long it's been since he's eaten.
You see, there are many children that are left to run the streets, or are forced to rummage through the garbage and the trash of the neighbors to find scraps of metal or containers that they can use or sell. There are so many many. There are many kids also that see me and they giggle and whisper among themselves and occasionally theres a brave one that willing to call out 'Hey Joe!'.. or 'Hey .. what's your name?' ... but for some reason that only God knows, there are two little boys, brothers, that I know. There are two little faces that I recognize as familiar, there are two little voices that make me smile as soon as they reach my ears.
I don't know their stories, I don't know their pasts, I don't know where they sleep each night, but I know the sound of my name coming out of their mouths. I know that the younger one holds my hand for only seconds at a time, but each time the seconds continue on longer than before.
These last couple of weeks, walking through the grocery store, I find myself picking up an extra juice in case I see them on my walk home.
This past week, I had picked up an extra tropicana juice and gave it to him and stood as my heart melted in my chest as the younger brother asked me, ''Can I have a hug.. is it ok?'' As my arms wrapped around him and held him tight that he could ALWAYS have a hug and my mothers words echoed in my mind 'I collect hugs!' And there in that moment, I thought of my own mother. How long had I been in the world before she gave me my first hug, I certainly was no stranger to her hugs, they were the first thing I expected every morning and the last thing each night, every goodbye called for a hug, and more than anything, just walking by her usually called for one too...we were crazy about our hugs... and yet... when was the last time this little boy had felt someone wrap their arms around him in love and just hug him.
And just like that, God gives me another responsibility, I'm to be his arms literally and hug those that the world would not hug, I'm to kiss the heads of the little ones that dig through the trash and I'm to cherish every minute of it because HE, the creator of the universe cherishes them.
He cherishes Older J and Younger J.
He cherishes each of the sleeping children in this house.
He cherishes me.
He cherishes You.
~ To God Be the Glory!