I may have been seventeen years old when I held an under-nourished baby. Seated by a large glass window in a rocking chair in the corner of the room, a very small baby boy was placed in my arms. My heart instantly invited him in. I peered down at his tiny hands, thin arms and gaunt but lively face. Joy overwhelmed me. Life was placed in my arms. We locked eyes and immediately it felt like we were the only ones in the room. As I cradled this tiny baby boy, I whispered prayers to God. “Thank you for this precious little boy. Protect him from harm and watch over him. Amen.”
We rocked back and forth, and time stood still. I became love, care and protection for him – a gift given to his parents yet placed in my arms for a short time. What may have come natural for me at seventeen years old was not as natural for his parents. Poverty and a deficit in parenting skill is what led this baby boy to my arms. While I cared for him, Mom and Dad attended a required parenting skill class.
Many years have past since holding the tiny baby boy. Although his name has left my memory, the deep love and desire for him to live a safe and happy life has not.
Love came to me that day wrapped in a blanket.
Curious as to why this memory surfaced after so many years, I allowed time and space to reveal its meaning.
Days later it came to me: Cradling a tiny baby boy at a volunteer program was possibly the first time in my life where I felt a deep connection to my life’s calling. It was a seed inside me that started to bloom, framing my core beliefs about humanity – to understand that life is difficult and complex, so suspend judgment and give comfort and care to anyone in need. For this is the love all of us desire – the one that is free from judgment, attentive to all needs and requests nothing in return but simply finds sheer joy in us. It’s a love found in God and experienced through the kindness and generosity of others who truly see us as we are.