How was Peru?
The three-second answer:
God changed my life and showed me what to do with it all through one little boy.
I want you guys to meet someone. This is Hectór.
Hectór is eight years old, and he has Down syndrome. At first, I was unsure if he had Down's or not - a lot of Peruvians have wide eyes. But then he smiled. And his smile looked exactly like Levi's. Already with tears in my eyes, I went over to say hello to him. He was sitting with his mother at a table. None of the other children were speaking to him.
I knelt next to him and said, "Hola, Hectór!"
His grin immediately covered his entire face and, all of a sudden, I had the air knocked out of me. Two little arms had wrapped themselves tightly around my neck. Two little legs had latched around my waist. And, one little wet mouth kissed me over and over again.
At this point, the sobs started racking my body. This little boy reminded me so much of Levi, yet he probably lived in a hut with no water, no heat/AC, no room of his own. He'd probably grown up with his mom trying to teach him everything she could, not understanding why her son couldn't learn like the other children. He'd probably never been to physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy. He probably never will.
It wasn't fair. How was it fair, that I, who has everything this world has to offer, could be unhappy anytime, when this little boy, who had nothing was uncontrollably full of joy just to meet a stranger?
How did I get everything, when he was the one that deserved it?
I sat with Hectór, crying more than I can ever remember, for the entire hour we were there. When he noticed my tears, he got up from my lap and ran off somewhere. Heartbroken that I might never see him again, the sobs continued. But, suddenly, I felt two little hands rubbing across my face, full of tissues. Hectór was wiping away my tears. I was blown away. I couldn't believe how selfish I'd always been, how blind. I couldn't stop crying. I didn't know much Spanish, so I said the only thing I knew, over and over again - Gracias!
I felt like my heart was being physically wrenched out of my body when we had to leave. One of our mission trip leaders literally had to grab me by the arm and drag me out of the building. As I was about to get on the bus, Hectór ran out of the building and grabbed my legs shouting, "No, no, no!" I fell to the ground and held him there for another five minutes, sobbing harder than I ever have.
Leaving Hectór was the hardest thing I've ever had to do in my entire life, but it made me realize how fortunate we are. I complain about all of Levi's therapies, but what if he didn't have them? He was a late walker already, but what if he hadn't had physical therapy? Would he be walking now?
Or, what if Levi didn't have feeding therapy? Would he ever be able to eat anything besides cheese puffs, french fries, and smoothies?
What if Levi didn't have a hospital to go to? A hospital that treats special needs kids the same as regular kids? He wouldn't even be alive.
What if he didn't have pediatricians to go to? We wouldn't know he refluxed. We wouldn't know he aspirated. We wouldn't have known his heart needed fixing.
Special needs kids in other parts of the world don't have these resources. And we take them for granted. Think of how special needs people are thought different, alien, and abnormal here in America. How much more magnified is that in countries where they don't have resources to learn anything to help them in the world?
While I was in Peru, God spoke more clearly to me than I have ever heard Him. He said these words to me as if he were sitting right next to me:
You will fight a battle. And you will fight for the children that cannot fight for themselves.
That is his plan for my life. And I'm ready to dive in. I'm ready to fight.
Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute.
- Proverbs 31:8