Wednesday, January 16, 2013

living up to a name

We gave Bronwyn the middle name Joy believing that she would live up to that name and put a smile on the face of many. We have been so blessed watching her do just that with the people around her. The other day, I was particularly moved by Bronwyn's ability to touch the life of another.

Meet Irene. She's a lovely young woman in her mid twenties who has had a rough go at life. She married young, had a child, contracted HIV, had a stroke, was abandoned by her husband, lost custody of her child, and now lives basically alone and with enough physical limitation that it makes it hard for her to walk and talk. She's a trooper in the best sense, doing her best to keep going and stay positive. The other day, we took Irene to the hospital for a check up with the doctor. Throughout the ride to Mansa, Bronwyn laughed and waved and clapped, showing off all of her new tricks for Irene. Irene smiled and waved in return, fueling Bronwyn's playfulness. As Bronwyn grew more bold, she became fascinated with the strings on Irene's hoodie and spent lots of time tracing the green letters on the front with her fingers. Irene sat and smiled as Bronwyn touched her hands, her skirt, her shirt, her face. She occasionally talked to Bronwyn in her slurred speech, and Bronwyn babbled back in reply, delighting in Irene's presence.

It occurred to me that Irene probably does not get very much physical touch or opportunity to play. I don't believe very many people sit and talk with her, let alone show such glee at just being with her. She has little to nothing that the village around her deems valuable; and yet Bronwyn, in that span of 30 minutes communicated to Irene that she was the most valuable thing on the planet! As I watched Bronwyn light up over playing with her seat mate, and as I saw Irene glowing in return, I said a silent prayer of thanks that this little child, without even knowing it, was ministering to a potentially hurting heart. I hope that she never loses her childish ways, delighting in the simple, always accepting people without judgement or fear. HIV positive? Unintelligible speech? Limbs that don't work? NO PROBLEM!! We can still laugh and play! I absolutely love - and am totally challenged by - this child of mine.

Thank you, Bronwyn, for the amazing example of extending JOY to others!

1 comment:

  1. There's no coincidence that both you and your beautiful child share a middle name. Also: I'm obsessed with Bronwyn--she's so beautiful!