All this weekend, I have had two boys on my mind… Haven and Kristopher. Haven is seven and in the first grade. Kristopher is in the 3rd grade. I met them both for the first time within 24 hours of each other this weekend. Here are tiny glimpses of their stories and all that I honestly know about them.
Friday night I was up late working on cutting out pieces for a "coffee sleeve mini-album" for our "Sistertime" at church the next morning. Between midnight and 12:30 a.m., I heard the front door open and suspected it was our younger daughter just off from work at a local restaurant. I was right. I just had no idea that she would have Haven with her. I turned around to see a boy with a crew cut and dark brown eyes. The 'mom' in me wanted to know what he was doing up so late. I knew better than to ask that so I greeted him with a smile and asked him how old he was. I would have guessed four (only because of his small stature) but he told me he was seven. After talking with him, I think I would have to say he was one of the smartest and most articulate 7 year-olds I have ever met. The question remained… what was he doing up at 12:30 and why was he with Jenna? He told me his version and Jenna tried to whisper the additional details behind his back while he picked out games from our game closet. It seems she works with a girl who is Haven's mom's roommate. Haven's mom had just graduated from a short-term vocational program and was having a graduation 'party.' The party got loud and Haven got scared. He asked his mom if Jenna could come get him. He had only met her once before.
Fast forward to Saturday evening at 6:00. It was my Saturday to teach the children from our Saturday night service. Each Saturday at 6:00 our church serves a meal to anyone who wants to come. Usually we feed about 150 people each week. The meal is followed by a church service at 7:00. My husband and I had arrived at 6:00. I was standing in the foyer waiting for Steve as he went to claim his seat in the sanctuary. During that time, a young boy walked into our church, came up to me and asked, "Where's the meal?" I pointed in the general direction but told him that he could come with me. He was amazed at the long line but waited pretty patiently. As we waited, we talked. His name is Kristopher – "with a K, not a Ch" and he is in the 3rd grade at Oakdale Elementary School. I asked him if someone was going to meet him there at the church and he told me no… that his mom's boyfriend had dropped him off and would come back later to pick him up. We got our meals and he sat across the table from Steve and I . As we shared a meal together he asked us many questions about the church, about the people there, about the class that he would go to and what I was going to teach about. He looked us straight in the eye and handled himself like a young man who had learned to face life exactly as it is. Towards the end of the meal, an announcement was made that they were short staffed that night and if anyone could stay and help put away the tables and chairs, it would be greatly appreciated. Kristopher got up and started stacking chairs.
These two boys genuinely inspired me. My heart is filled with compassion for each of them. I wish their circumstances could be different but am amazed at who they are becoming in spite of their circumstances. Where does a seven year-old get the wherewithall to know that he doesn't have to stay in a particular situation? And where does a third grader get the confidence to walk into a place he has never been, all by himself, in order to get his evening meal? Haven ended up spending the night Friday night, enjoying a very late night snack and a few games of Trouble with Jenna. In the morning, he told her that he had SO MUCH FUN! Kristopher left us as mysteriously as he had arrived, thankful for the double dessert and a popper that Steve had given him after the meal. Both have left imprints on my heart.
Two young boys – each a reminder to me to withhold judgment, to love those around me and to bless them in whatever way I can. Who knew there was so much power in a game of Trouble and a second dessert?
Desiring to Be a Blessing With You,