is it enough?
Sophonie, she scratches words on peach-colored concrete with a sliver of yellow chalk.
She points to them and then to herself. “God. Me. Father. Mother.”
I brim and pull her close. “Yes. God. He’s your father and your mother.”
And He’s enough.
Jeffrey’s fifteen, he says. He speaks English. I ask how long he’s been here at the orphanage. “Two years,” he answers. He carries a Creole-English dictionary.
He and Sophonie speak to each other. “She doesn’t understand you,” he says.
“I know,” I sigh. “We teach each other.”
I want to know his story. But I’m afraid to ask. Afraid to dredge up memories. Afraid I’ll cry.
I point to a young boy who sits on the bench. A tear pools in the corner of his right eye and trails. He holds his cheek. I bend down, cup his face. “What’s wrong?”
I look up at Jeffrey. They exchange words in Creole. His tooth aches.
I open my mouth, and point to him. I peek in to see what looks like a big cavity in a back molar.
Rele? What’s your name?”
I don’t understand his words.
“Fafa,” repeats Jeffrey. “F-a-n-f-a-n.”
The “n” is silent.
“Ask him how old he is.”
Fanfan shrugs and shakes his head. Either he won’t tell or he doesn’t know.
Rete.” I go in search of some children’s acetaminophen. I bring back two tablets and tell him to chew. What else can I do?
For a few moments, he stretches out, belly down, on the ledge. I worry that he’ll fall. And then he’s gone.
We sit on the church steps. Ivelor has found a dirty wipe and tears it into small strips to share. I smile big and raise a finger. “One minute.”
I reach into my bag and pull out a packet of Wet Ones®. They’re so excited. They wipe their faces, hands, legs, feet.
It’s one small thing in this one small moment.
“Sing. Sandy sing.”
So I sing
Jesus Loves Me. And Jesus Loves the Little Children. And Amazing Grace.
As they catch the tune, they respond in Creole. And they are an angel choir. Their voices flow down this Haitian hill, over the chickens, past the infirmary, and out to sea.
Later I ask Sophonie where Fanfan is.
She presses her hands together, lays her cheek against them. “Sleep. Fanfan sleep.”
For a few moments he rests, free from pain. But is it enough?
“Sandy, I love you so much.”
“I love you, too, Sophonie. So much.”
This we understand.
My heart aches. But to be present it this moment, it is enough.
And God’s her father and her mother and her everything.
It is enough.
He is enough.
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"Once a nurse, always a nurse," they say. But now I spend my days with laptop and camera in tow as I look for the extraordinary in the ordinary. I'm a Michigan gal, mom to two, grandmom to two, and wife to one. My husband and I live on 50 acres in the same 150-plus-year-old farmhouse he grew up in. I love this quote by Mary Oliver, "Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it." That's how I want to live. And I'm still learning how to be. Still.