“Duane, my brother, why are you crying?”
“I… I… just need to catch my breath. Stop for a bit. Sit down.” My breath comes in gasps.
So we sit together, right in the middle of the trail with goat droppings, there on that humid Haitian mountainside. My chest is heaving, hungry for air, but he doesn’t know what is wrong so he puts his arm around me. Brow furrowed, he looks intensely into my eyes and asks again,
“Brother Duane, did my story upset you?”
I nod my head no, that it wasn’t him, but instead the high altitude and my asthma.
“I… need… my backpack,” I wheeze and he slips it from his shoulders and gives it to me. Rifling through its contents, I find my inhaler and I hesitate to pull it from backpack.
I’m embarrassed, actually, to use it with him watching me so intently.
It definitely costs me more than $13.
Exhaling, I push my inhaler through my lips and squeeze. Once, twice, my breath comes easier now so I rest, staring out across the lush rolling hills about me.
We sit there for a while in silence. His arm still around my shoulder, he studies my face, awed by this “asthma” I speak of, by my inhaler, by my… tears.
“Brother Duane,” he breaks the silence, “Why are you crying?”
I look down the path, at the place where we had come from, then turn to him.
“Your story, when the earthquake hit, it makes me so sad,” I tell him.
“But the Lord has been so good to me!” He protests.
Shaking my head, I continue, “I don’t know how you can say that. I don’t know how you find the strength because you and I are the same age and yet, if that had happened to me, I would doubt God even existed. If he were real, why wouldn’t he stop my heart from hurting? If I had to hold my mother while she died from the concrete wall falling on her, and I didn’t have $13 to pay transportation to get her help,
I don’t think I could say the Lord had been good to me.”
“It is hard.” His voice is low, reverent. He stares across the humidity-drenched hills and finally, he looks directly into my eyes. “I am an orphan…”
The words hang in painful nakedness between us.
“But I am adopted,” he continues, “by the same Father who adopted you.”
I nod, bite my lip, trying not to let the tears fall because Haitian people do not cry. They have lived through too much to see the worth of tears. But when I look into his face, I see tears and I marvel again at the way God’s love for humanity reaches around the world, touching the hearts of all His… yes, all His orphans.
Standing, I reach for him and we hug a silent hug and our cheeks touch, both wet with tears and the color of our skin doesn’t matter at all…
Because we share the same Father.
When did you realize you were adopted by God? How has it impacted you?
[Photo: Moyan_Brenn, Creative Commons]