The 2-Minute Interaction That Changed My Life {Mercy and Justice, We’re All Called To It}


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I walked down the long, quiet hallway of the Children’s Hospital. It must have been somewhere between 10 -11 pm. I was tired. So tired.  But I had a bag of laundry to wash, and with only one washer on the floor, if I didn’t get it done now, my chances of finding a free washer in the morning were close to none.  I just wanted to sleep. Instead, I made my way to the Family Center.

Somewhere between putting a load of laundry in to wash and folding and bringing it back to my room, my life changed.

I met a boy (we’ll just call) Karim.

Walking down the hallway, I looked to the side into a room with an open door. I was caught by surprise by the little boy looking back at me. He had big, brown eyes and beautiful, chocolate skin. He was such a cutie.

He sat there on the bed, alone. The bed looking so big for his little body. I scanned the room for any sign of a parent, but there was none in sight. The green sofa cushions were bare, the rocking chair in the corner was empty, and the bed sheets on the bed, tucked neatly under the mattress. You wouldn’t think a patient was admitted into that room lest little Karim were not sitting on the bed.

I kept walking to the Family Center.

On my way back to my son’s room, I couldn’t help but glance into Karim’s room again. There he was, still alone. Scanning the hallway to see if there was a nurse in charge, I found one sitting across his room in the hallway.

Time passed, and back to the Family Center I went. This time to grab some cheese and lunch meat. It’s so hard to sleep while in the hospital. We were hungry and ready for a late snack. On the way down the hallway, I couldn’t help but look into Karim’s room. His bed was in a sitting-up position. He lay sideways on two pillows looking down at some toy cars they had put on his bed.

He looked up and his eyes burned into mine. I didn’t know what to do, so I smiled and waved hi. He waved softly back at me. No smile though.

I put the cheese and lunch meat away. Back down the same hallway I went. I couldn’t just walk past his room. Even if I tried, I couldn’t ignore this little one.

I stopped at the doorway to his room and said, “Hi.

I wasn’t sure if I’d be in trouble for stopping to talk to him, but I just couldn’t ignore him. He looked cold, the covers still tucked neatly under the mattress.

Are you cold?”

He shrugged his shoulders, and nodded his head yes. I looked again down the hall to see if there was a nurse to tell her he was cold. None was around. I slowly walked into the room, pulled up the blanket and covered him. Moving the cars and the truck that were in the way.

I’m Darlene. What’s your name?”

Karim.”

I looked around the room again, there was no trace of mommy.

Where’s your mommy?

“My mommy didn’t want to come.”

I tucked the cover under his chin, “Is that better?”

He nodded yes.

“Okay, well, you have a good night.”

On the way out, he puts his hand up showing me four fingers, “I’m four. I’m going to be five.”

“Wow! You’re going to be 5?! You’re going to be a big boy! I have a 5 year-old daughter, too. That’s so cool.”

I smiled, waved good-bye, and walked out of the room.

I walked the short distance to my son’s room, but each step was a heavy step. I opened the door to the room and shut it slowly behind me.

Stopping what he was doing, he says, “What’s wrong mom?”

My heart broke. Pieces of cold and hardened flesh, broken in one two-minute interaction with this precious boy.

“Mom, are you okay? What happened?“

I could barely speak and after what seemed like an hour, I managed to say, “My heart is broken.”

And there, in a children’s hospital, sitting down slowly on the green sofa next to my son on his hospital bed, I wept.

My son just sat there not knowing what to say. Not understanding what was going on.

I shared with him my two-minute conversation with precious Karim.

“Here I am, a mother to a 13-year-old, and I didn’t want to leave him alone…Because a hospital can be a very scary and lonely place for a teen, let a lone a child..” I continued to weep.

“And a couple doors down is a 4 year old. Alone. And all I want to do is go to Karim’s room and hold him and cover him, and sit there with him until he falls soundly asleep; Because no kid, 4-years-old, should ever be left alone.

And if… if there is a single mom who has to work and really cannot be here for her child… if that was me, and I really could not be here, my child would know that I sooooo wanted to be here with them. My child would know that I love them and that there’s no place I’d rather be than here with him.

And my heart breaks. Not only for Karim, but for millions of children who are alone in orphanages and on the streets. My heart breaks for children who have no one to hold them, to cover them, to watch over them. My heart breaks for children who sit alone. For children who are abused, mistreated, and abandoned. My heart breaks for the evil and injustice in this world. And I ache because I am one. I am only one woman; So small in comparison to the need. 

Tears flooded my eyes. An ache so deep filled my heart. “I’ll be right back Jay.” I needed some time alone with God.

I sat in a quiet seating area looking out the window. Just me and God.

My heart breaks because I feel the tug. God is calling me to righteousness and justice. He’s calling me to compassion and mercy. And it’s just me… little, scared, me.

And then I am reminded, it was just Him… One. One individual making a difference wherever He went. Jesus. One.

And somehow, I know that my family is being called to stand for justice. And somehow I know that One family can make a difference. I don’t know what that will look like. I don’t know where that will take us. But I know that my own pride and selfishness could not produce what I felt the day I met Karim. I know it was the heart of God, broken within me. And I must respond.

Teach me Lord, teach me to respond. 

(Proverbs 31:8-9)

New International Version (NIV)

Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly;
    defend the rights of the poor and needy.

(Micah 6:8)

He has shown you, O man, what is good;

And what does the Lord require of you

But to do justice,

To love mercy,

And to walk humbly with your God?

Today’s Challenge:

  • Have you felt the heart of God for others? Have you ignored it?
  • What has God put in your heart?
  • What stops you from moving and making a difference?
  • What’s one step you can take to start “being the change” that is needed?

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Posted on April 4, 2013, in 2013 {Live Life Fully Committed} Challenge, FAMILY LIFE, MOTHERING ON PURPOSE, Our Christian Walk, PARENTING, SPIRITUAL GROWTH, TEENS and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

  1. Wow, feeling a tug in my spirit. .. felt as if I was there. Thank you my dear friend.

  2. I saw this alot when my little one was in the hopsital for about 3months . let me tell u sobbing was daily. God also opened doors for us in tht time the nurse would let me read to the kids and sit with them out in front of the nurse station daily… leaving was the worst knowing they barely got any visitations . 😦
    I be friended a nurse who still keeps in touch with my little one and she says she cant ever quit because all those kids are her children and for yrs she has seen them cry to sleep and ask for when is mommy coming . I praise God for Denise daily .

    • Jessica, I can’t even imagine how difficult that must hqve been for you. So blessed to hear how God met you during that time. I was in the hospital with Jay for 23 days and I kept telling him how fortunate and blessed we were. Because even though he couldn’t walk, there were so many kids going through more difficult situations. It helps you be grateful for what God is doing. And it also opens your eyes to the need.

  3. This teared me up. Great post! So was the post about the red box… don’t know if I left a comment on that one.

    • Lorena, thanks for stopping by {In Pursuit}. I wrote this when we were in the hospital while it was still fresh. Let me just say, there’s feeling ‘bad’ about something and then there’s feeling the compassion of God for others. That night, my heart ached. May God continue to show us His heart. And may we move forward in obedience when he does… that’s my prayer. “Lord, when you show me what to do, help me to obey.”

  4. So sad for this child but I am thankful that you reached out to him to show love. You are an amazing woman with such a special heart. I am loving your journey

    • This little precious boy may be a boy who is loved, and perhaps his parents were on a run. I don’t know the case. I don’t know his story. All I know is that God used him to show me His heart for children everywhere. He used these big brown eyes to look into mine and pierce my soul. To shake me from my complacency, and my fear to move because I’m ‘just one person’.

      We’re on this journey together, Angie. Where is this journey taking you? I’d love to hear about it.

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