I watched her tonight out at the orphanage. A five-year-old body and a twenty-something-soul, though the age on her legal papers claims ten. She ran out, clutching a blue worn bear. It was the quality of stuffed animals handed over at a fair after winning a 50- cent game of darts. But, she doesn’t care, because it is hers.
And an older girl takes it away.
Because even the cheap and the worn are treasures on this patch of soil.
And I stumble through my newly-acquired Asian with someone else, but I watch from the corner of my eye–the two girls and the bear. The owner whines and chases. But the older is too fast, too quick, too powerful. She acts play, but the younger wouldn’t agree. I watch the little victim glance for help, call for someone older to Rescue.
But she’s on her own.
So she picks up a rock. She yells. She throws. Hard. And she misses.
And I intervene in broken tongue. And the sought-after lovey is returned to younger hands with a gentle, “Not kind,” to the older. And the next rock is tossed back to the dirt. For now.
But I am left wondering if the mini-drama just witnessed is a true picture of the orphan-story. She feels powerless and weak, unable to fight for herself. And she looks around for someone bigger to Rescue.
But there is no one who comes.
And so she picks up a rock. She learns to fight for herself. She dries her tears, and she grows older,
And I wonder how a childhood full of these moments affects her heart. I wonder how it translates into the way she views God, and what it does to her character and her relationships in future years.
And there are no answers from this keyboard, at this late hour, on this part of the planet tonight.
But I will still go to sleep believing that somehow, somehow,
God is big enough to meet the needs of the smallest orphan.
Even when she’s throwing rocks.