Any way, two weeks ago I missed a week because my head weighed in at a catrillion kilograms. Although it was just a headache, I thought it was best to stay away from choir practice as to avoid it being trampled by the not-so-pitter-patter of overexcited primary school children. I was back the next week, but a favourite face of mine was missing. Enter Orli, the sweetest girl with the saddest story.
I do not know the details of Orli's illness but what I do know is that it is chronic and it's been alluded to that Orli will not see the length of life that you and I will. There is constantly a tube in Orli's nose that connects to the backpack she wears all day everyday, there is an alarm that goes off at which her mother instantly responds to. Orli is not the size of a healthy eight year old, due to her illness her growth has been stunted and I'm unsure as to how her growth has been affected long term. Orli has the most beautiful smile and the cutest nose. When she stands by your side, a shadow by the bend in your knee, you wish that she'd just stay a little while. Her quiet presence is calming and her attitude is astounding. Orli is a very precious child and was hospitalised last week.
Things were very uncertain. We were told not to rely on her being out of hospital for Christmas, but with prayer and her mother by her side, she returned this week.
Orli approached me with a beaming smile this afternoon. Then the sides of her smile drooped a little as concern crept into her eyes. "I'm sad that you were sick the other week" she said to me. My eyes filled with tears and my heart broke. "I'm sad that you were sick last week Orli," I said, "I really missed you"
and with that she smiled and took her place in the choir. I couldn't stop thinking about what she said, her slightly shaken voice replaying over in my head. A child that knows the hospital walls better than a staff member was telling me she was sad that I was sick.
Maybe it's the genuineness of Orli that struck me. The way she could so easily relate to illness with such a heart full of love and concern. Then came the challenge that sent my head spinning until this very moment, where I write out all the wonderings and whats and whys and whens of my encounter today.
Orli unintentionally changed my life in that moment. Orli made me realise that our biggest battles in life can be our biggest breakthroughs to others. I want to get back to the genuine heart of a child. I want to reach out to someone regardless of my own circumstance, whether or not mine seems better or worse, I want to reach out. Because reaching out starts change and begins a fire of challenge within a community. If I cared for someone a little more, they would care for someone else a little more. If I was able to reach out to someone in heartache because I had experienced heartache instead of wallowing in my own pool of pathetic, I might actually be able to do something about it. I might actually be able to flip a perspective or stand a shoulder. Our wounds can be the source of relational growth and healing. Don't let your sickness riddle all areas, see it as a point of difference in the way you relate. We have to face this together, whether big or small, headache or chronic illness, if we face it together, we face it much better.
So for Orli, reach out.