There’s a child on my couch. He’s sleeping on a borrowed pillow but the nightmares are his own. We sang Jesus Loves Me at bedtime, right after we made sure the blinds and blankies and bad dreams were all tucked away just so. I sang. He giggled. And asked for hugs. More hugs. This tiny child, asking to be loved, so easy to love.
I don’t know his story. He’s only with us this week. Maybe he’s been given that same relentless story of generational poverty passed on like the unavoidable and unwanted heirloom it is. His body bears witness. They tell me he’s four, but he is smaller than our two year old. A quick mental measurement of the length of his body against the length of the this couch leaves me wondering how many hugs were missed. The loving touch required to grow. How many hugs would it take to fill the negative space of these couch cushions and his heart?
The backstory isn’t required to know our job. We are here to continue the healing process while his adoptive foster parents rest. We are here for the sacrament of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches as daily Eucharist. We are here to see childhood rights of swinging in the park and circling bikes through culdesacs met. We are here to speak and sing words of worthiness and wholeness and identity over him.
And hugs. We are always here for hugs. Especially for this child who asks for them more than food or water as hourly sustenance. I wonder how he fits all his resiliency inside that tiny body carrying his courage around. He sleeps and I sing and gratitude hits anew we get to live this life as the redeemed.