We have much to learn from the strength and innocence of children, don’t we?
We so often see these little beings scurrying around and feel the strong urge to protect them at all costs from the evils of this world. We fear that the world will break them if given even the slightest chance. We see their small stature and conflate that with the size of their hearts but in this they are mighty. We trust in our own size and our age and our experience but when it comes to facing down the world and its evils the only thing that truly matters is the size of one’s heart. And ours are too often found lacking. If we can but remove our gaze from ourselves we’ll see that they, not us, are often the lions walking among us, able to stare down the world’s evil and come out smiling, radiating an unblemished love and innocence.
David is a lion. Small in stature, yes, but whose heart and courage are unmatched by any of the giants that could ever be placed before him. I wrote about David and his traumatic accident a few weeks ago and I am now even more convinced of this than I was then.
David’s physical wounds have been healing well and he has been regaining his ability to be active and enjoy most of the physical things young boys like to do. What is always harder, however, are the emotional wounds, made worse by further developments in his story.
In my previous post about David I introduced his mentally ill mother, whom many believed was the way she was because of the years of abuse suffered at the hands of David’s father. For some, the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel that we so often hold out for only comes with the release of death and so it was with David’s mother who deteriorated into torment until she passed away a few weeks ago.
Her burial was David’s first trip back to his old community and his first time seeing his father again since his accident.
When told about her passing, David responded with unexpected stoicism, not breaking down in tears but rather with a calm acceptance belying his years and his tumultuous past, like he knew his mother’s story well enough to realise it had only ever been a matter of time. He went to the burial, saw his father from a distance, and although given the option to stay the night in his old community, opted to return with his older brother, the man who took him in after his accident, to Santo Domingo right away. His father did not approach him or even ask about him and David left without the slightest glimpse back.
Reading this it may sound like the response of an emotionally stunted boy whose traumatic experience and difficult past have left him without the ability to properly feel and process his emotions, and if it were not for seeing him interact with people in his new surroundings I may have thought the same thing.
But to see him with Daniel is to see him in a completely different light.
Daniel is the young brother of my friend, Mariuxi, the wife of David’s older brother who took him in. As explained in my last story, Cesar, David’s older brother, and Mariuxi, are a couple with a seeming endless abundance of love. Their own baby girl is due any day now and they have taken in both Daniel and David. To see these two boys who didn’t even know each other until David came to the house after his accident, is to see love incarnate. They have gone from strangers to brothers and inseparable best friends in the span of a few short months. They bring out each others’ smiles and giggles and their beautiful flourishing relationship is proof that David is not the emotionally stunted, traumatized, beat-down-by-the-evil-of-this-world little boy we might expect.
In fact, it’s the love that these two boys share for each other that exemplifies for me why children are the lions among us, with hearts big enough to withstand more than we give them credit for.
When David first arrived at Cesar and Mariuxi’s house, Daniel was already there, comfortable in the nook he had carved our for himself in this home overflowing with love. Perhaps precisely because this house was so overflowing with love, Daniel didn’t see David’s arrival as an intrusion, as the arrival of a competitor for the affections of these two grown ups. There was plenty to go around and Daniel wanted to add his part.
It is truly incredible to see someone who is so full of love pour out the overflow onto someone else. It is how things are supposed to be and to see it is to witness the world in harmony.
In those early days David was still recovering and one of his legs, more severely burned than the other, had to be raised whenever he was sitting down. Whenever David entered a room, Daniel would run ahead of him, find a chair and help his new friend ease into it. He’d then find a little stool and gently place David’s bandaged leg on top of it. Anything David needed Daniel would get, whether it was food, water, even to the point that he would run and get David’s sandals and neatly place them side by side beside where David was sitting so that when he would get up he didn’t have to go searching for them.
It was love through servitude in its purest form.
These boys had just met but in this hyperbaric chamber of love their innate ability to give and receive affection was given free reign. And the result was healing. David was shown that whatever darkness had marked his past did not have to be indicative of his present, much less his future.
We have much to learn from the children who walk among us.
When given the chance, they readily open their hearts to others. They have an innate understanding that life’s evils cannot be defeated in solitude and so when they encounter love they soak it up and when they saturate their souls they soak others in the excess. We seem to lose this beautiful ability as we get older.
Who among us would have so readily opened ourselves up to the depth of relationship that David and Daniel now enjoy, so quickly? No, we seem to prefer to keep others at a distance, whether out of heartbreaking experience or irrational fear. But where is healing found in this approach?
To heal, David needed first to be loved so at the first chance he got, with the courage found within his mighty heart, he dove right into the deep-end.
We have much to learn from the little lions who walk among us.