We have a niece. She is two. Her parents...are...terrible people, drug addicts. Mentally ill besides, I'm sure.
I dunno. As much thinking as we've been doing about Jesus here lately, I started to read the New Testament, because, well, why not. And I was curious as to how the modern mind (or post-modern mind or pop-secret mind or uncrustable mind) dealt with the whole "demon possession" thing. Because as little as I know about ancient times, I'm guessing it wasn't all spinning heads and green vomit. Not that that didn't happen, but when the Bible says Jesus put demons out of someone, what does that mean?
And I think I may know now. I think it means Abigail's parents. I think they are as human as I am, but they have ground their own humanity down to a nub and now they are stubbing out their daughter's. Or they are trying to. And it, quite literally, tears at my heart. It hurts to think of it. Right now, I could cry. And we started to try to take her twice before, but then, it was with this begrudging sense.
"Well, somebody has to....."
And each time, we gave up because of our own family. Our own good fortune at the blessing of another child.
And thankfully, she is with her grandmother now. But (and there are many buts) there is a good chance that Abigail is not going to be able to stay there. She needs a family. Everyone seems to be aware of this and finally, the people who can *do*, seem to see that the focus needs to be on the baby. And the backwards way of the world is somehow magically ordering itself and maybe for one moment before the wind blows and the top-heavy pile of living falls completely down, we could move in and somehow grab her and hold her tight and teach her that she is lovable, worth loving and also that she is made to love in return.
I can't dig children out of the rubble of a Chinese school.
I can't fly to Myanmar with a pound of rice and a pot of water.
I can't make a difference in a grand, sweeping way.
I am not Mother Teresa.
I am simply a mother.
And I can mother Abby. I can take her deep into my heart. I can teach her rock, flower, tree. I can unbury her from the grave her parents have been digging for themselves. I can provide her with healthy food (and the occasional snack cake). I can give her a bedtime and bed to sleep in.
We can carve out a little space, surely, for her. We can mush her up into a little ball and kiss her cheeks. We can touch her lovingly and untangle the knots in her hair.
We, who have lost so much, can easily stretch our arms just a little bit wider to encircle just one more. Even with our limited abilities, budgets, and ammenities. We have infinite hearts. And if we don't, we should.
And it may not make a difference to Burma or China or Africa. But it will matter. A weight to take up that lightens the load.
I just keep thinking about, honest to God, Jesus. And not the "Christian-thing-to-do" Jesus. But the "No-room-at-the-inn" Jesus.
And I have room. I think. For that.