Ahh, this child with outstanding personality, humongous special needs, and incredible patience in the midst of difficulty.
He and I have such good times together. I take him and snuggle him and we go on little walks. I say the alphabet to him and he echoes me--more or less precisely--while he looks at the sign-language letter that I make with my hand.
But he has slowly been getting weaker. He used to be able to sit up in a chair while he ate his meals, and lately he has been unable to do that. He slumps more limply in my arms when I carry him, and the skin on his thighs has begun to hang in loose wrinkles.
Also, his hands are still pitiful, and they seem to be getting worse.
I think it's a combination of scabies and hand, foot, & mouth disease, compounded by the fact that his leukemia and HIV have left him with practically no immune system, and exacerbated by the way he constantly chews on his hands.
I showed his hands to the nurse and she cleaned them really well with hydrogen peroxide, iodine, and neosporin. He screamed and writhed while they were dressing his hand, but it was so necessary, I could not help but rejoice that finally his hands were getting some help.
It made me wonder--how many times do I scream when God is cleaning up something rotten in my life? How many times do I writhe and try to flee from under His restraining hand? How many times do I doubt His love? But if I could only see how necessary it was, if I could only know how it was poisoning me to let it continue, I would know that it was precisely because of His love that He performs the painful surgery.
The nurse has been dressing his hand every day since then, so he now has a fat white bandage around his left hand. Good thing, because it keeps it out of his mouth.
• • •
A large mission team came to volunteer at the creche this week, and I was talking to one of the team members. We walked by Hunter's crib and I was bragging on him to her about how lovable he is, how he can repeat words you say, and how he constantly has a good attitude despite his health problems.
We were standing there loving on him when a couple of other people walked by.
"Oh, isn't that the one who only has a month to live?" one of them said.
A month to live?
"Is that what they told you?" I asked.
"Yeah, when we had the tour, they told us that he only has about a month left," he said.
"Oh," I faltered. I could see that he was unaware of the effect his words were having on me. He did not realize that they came across as callous and unfeeling. How could he know?
"Oh. Well, I'm glad you told me that because...I love him..."
I was choking back tears now. I struggled to maintain my composure. I took a deep breath.
"So..." I continued, "that'll just give me time to prepare my heart."
He walked on, probably unaware of the blow that I had received.
• • •
If it's only a month now, I will treasure it.