A little boy named Isaiah is on my heart and in my prayers. His siblings are, too. But not often enough.
The Tuesday after Easter my friend, Linda, who heads up an after-school tutoring program at his inner-city school, asked him why he wasn’t at the easter egg hunt at church.
“We had our own easter egg hunt,” he beamed.
After several years of living here and there, with this aunt or that, with this friend or that, some siblings here, some siblings there, he and his mother and all of his six siblings had finally moved into a home of their own – all of them under a single roof.
Isaiah was so happy, so proud of this step up that his mother had taken.
A few days later the kids were upstairs in their bedrooms. Their uncle was on the sofa in the living room watching television. Their mom’s boyfriend walked quickly through the front door.
“Where’s Kenyetta?”, he asked.
“In her bedroom,” the uncle answered.
The boyfriend climbed the stairs to her bedroom and shots rang out. Kenyetta was dead – shot several times in the chest. Isaiah’s two-year-old sister, who had been standing next to her mother’s bed, was shot in the leg. But alive.
The new house is vacant now.
Isaiah and his three siblings-who-share-the-same-father are living with his father now, along with another sibling, who has a different father. He wouldn’t/couldn’t take the oldest, who is 15 and pregnant. The seventh sibling is in detention at Children’s Village. He and his anger issues.
The lesson in Bible study this morning challenged us to look for the beauty in the ugly. To thank God in the midst of the mess.
I can’t think of much that is uglier and messier and more heartbreaking than a little boy beaming one week and absent the next. Crushed. A happy, proud step up followed immediately by a crushing crashing down.
At Kenyetta’s funeral – at Isaiah’s mother’s funeral – the pastor implored the 500 in attendance to turn the tragedy around – turn it into an end to domestic violence, an end to drugs. Amen.
I am having trouble seeing the beauty in the ugly right now. All I see, all my heart feels is the crushing blow to a little boy’s joy.
But I pray that Isaiah will one day see it; that the city will one day see it.
In the meantime, Father, will you fill every caregiver, every adult that Isaiah and his siblings encounter with an abundance of love and compassion for them? Abundant love. Abundant compassion. Not just today, not just this week, but every day and every week and every year until they are all fully healed. Until they all see the beauty in those fragile ashes.
Thank You for love. Thank you for redemption. Thank you for healing. Thank You for bringing life from death, beauty from ashes, I know You will.
Thank you that we who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy.