Thursday, February 12, 2015

Love and Loss

“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken..." C.S. Lewis


Absolutely. Yes.

The transient nature of street life, keeps boys coming in and out of my life.  While they are around, I love them more than I think is humanly possible.  But they don't always stay for long.  Sometimes, only a few hours.  Sometimes, a few days or weeks or years.  But it is never enough time, no matter how long it is.

The boys get taken away for many reasons.  Some good, like they go back to their families, where they belong, and I never see them again.  Some bad, like they are taken to prison or chased from the slums.  And the worst, they die.

The problem is no one values these kids.  They are just seen as a nuisance.  Something disposable.  Something worthless.  I am sure that most of you reading this treat your dogs better than these kids are treated.  Very few people care about their existence.  As such, no one cares what happens to them.  There is no justice for them or the abuse that they face.  They have no refuge, no safe space, no one to  run to when they are being persecuted.  As a result, help really never does come for them.

Street life takes its toll on them.  They have to become so hardened to the world and the brutalities they face every day.  They have to be able to not feel anything.  And when they can't, when they can't reconcile in their minds why no one loves them or values them, when the abuse becomes too much and it breaks them, they turn to drugs and alcohol so they can forget or not feel.

There was a boy that I loved so much.  He couldn't speak English, so we never really talked.  Maybe it was his joyful laugh, or his huge smile that made me fall in love.  Maybe it was his kind and gentle nature.  Maybe it was this small child trapped in a giant's body air that he gave off.  All I new was that I loved him, and he would be family.  When I found out a little over 2 years ago, that he was missing and no one knew where he was, I sent people to find him.  They finally did and he was in prison.  At that moment, I knew it was time for him to come home, so he would never have to suffer again.

So home he came.  Unfortunately, life had been too much for him.  He saw horrors that even my worst nightmare couldn't even come close.  He experienced pains and heartaches that no one should ever feel.  But during his time at home, while I saw a boy that struggled immensely with addiction, he was a joy to be around.  He loved little children so much.  He would play with our cook's kids.  He would dance with them and twirl them around and their laughter could be heard throughout the house.  He sat with them and talked with them.  They loved him so much.  I saw a boy that was helpful.  He would do anything for anyone.  He was kind.  He was hardworking.  He loved to make people laugh.

Just like it happens so much with these boys, sometimes their demons win out.  Sometimes, the nightmares never stop.  Sometimes, it is just too much and they can't find relief anywhere.  So Matthew came and went from the home.  Many times. We always welcomed him back.  But 4 months ago, he left again and disappeared.  I finally saw him again last Sunday and he looked really good.  He had his huge grin as always.  I had hope again that maybe he would come back to us.  On Monday, someone told me he was, that he planned to come and apologise and ask for another chance.

He never got that chance.

On Wednesday, someone took him away from us forever.  They didn't see a big goofy kid with a heart of gold.  They didn't see a helpful and hardworking young man.  They didn't see the struggles and obstacles he had endured and overcome.  They didn't see a guy that was going to make an amazing father.  I don't know exactly what they saw, but if they knew him like we did, they wouldn't have done what they did.

The story isn't clear, but they murdered him.  Why?  Because they could.  There are no consequences for them.  No justice for Matthew.  One more boy, gone, claimed by the streets and the cruelness of it.  One more life gone too soon because these boys aren't appreciated for who they are and what they could be.  One less light in the world.  And the world needed Matthew's light.

Matthew deserved better than what he got in this world.  All of these boys do.  He isn't the first one that has been murdered.  Patrick was taken from us too.  So were many others.  And until these boys' lives have value, I am sure our heart will break over and over with these same stories.  It is getting harder and harder to make sense of all of this.  It seems like we are all losing hope for a different world, one where these boys will find love and acceptance.  One where they will be treasured and protected.   Sometimes I wonder how much more my heart can take.  When it will break for the last time or if it will just stop breaking just so it doesn't have to feel the constant loss...

I know God is here.  And that is the only reason why I have hope.  He is why I know that my heart can keep pouring out love, even though it is broken time and time again.  Each time I think I can't take anymore, each time I think this is what will put me over the edge, a new day comes and with it a repaired heart.  It has learned to live with the mended cracks.  They remind me just how precious life is and how it can be gone at any moment.  They remind me how I continue to break my God's heart every day, but still He pours his love out to me.  So I can do the same.

I am praying for a day when we don't have to lose anymore boys.  A day where the Matthew's of the world will find help when they cry out.  A day where people will see a boy from the streets in need of help and will run to them, not walk the other way.  A day when hearts don't have to break anymore.

It was that smile that got me every time. 
With Sylvester

Matthew went to a wedding near our house and brought these beautiful flowers back for me.

Did I mention his love for animals?  He found this cat abandoned when she was so small and brought her home.  He is the one that named her Lucky.

Matthew, you were so loved and I hope that you knew it.  You will be missed forever.  I hope that you have now found peace and are not suffering anymore.  You deserved so much more than this life gave you.  Thank you for being a light in our lives.  I pray for a world where others won't have to suffer the same fate as you.  Love you and miss you always.

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