After the Watoto Restore concert, Kevin found me near the stage packing up my camera gear. His face was red and tear streaked. He didn’t have any words. He needed me to not just hug him but hold him for a long time. The heaviness of the emotional truths were more than he could bear alone. Because he understood the full circle of suffering, rescue, recovery and restoration he was all at once in despair while wanting to rejoice. I myself felt the same way when I was in Uganda last year. It took me many months to understand all I learned. I remembered being hit hard with this strange brew of conflicting emotion. What he has walked away with now is an appreciation for the joy these children survivors are able to have especially in light of the suffering they endured.
After the buses pulled out of the parking lot and they could no longer see Jack waving goodbye his whole body slumped. As we drove home he began to sob with an untethered wild animal like sadness. I knew it wasn’t the separation, but the full weight of the experience from their stories. I didn’t say a word, I just prayed for the boy as he let it all come out. When he recovered his voice and wiped his eyes, he said to me “Mama, why did those bad things have to happen to them?” A few books have been written to answer that question and still no one is quite sure. I had no confidence I could make it clear. I stumbled with an answer, “sometimes bad things happen to good people and it is so sad, but, the important thing is to remember what happened next.” Then he floored me with his innocent wisdom, “Mama, sometimes I am really scared that bad things will happen to me, but now I think I understand that if even the worst thing happened, like if you and daddy died, then I know God will take care of me because these boys are happy now. They made a big family with this tour, and being together like they are is their home.” I reinforced what he knew by saying, “God never leaves you alone, He will strengthen you in any difficult problem. We can survive really bad things, and even be happy afterwards.”
Those are some weighty lessons for a boy of nine. I wouldn’t have taken him to that concert if I didn’t think he could handle it. He has an uncanny ability to understand his emotions for a child. He is actually better able to verbalize what he is feeling than most adults I know. I don’t know how in the world I would have told Jack he couldn’t go to the Ugandan concert. He is all about Uganda and the boys were his instant brothers the moment they entered our home. Jack is mature and intelligent and willing to communicate so I am peaceful with my decision to let him have a glimpse of the horrors that are in this world. Just like his mama, he was able to see the bright side of the story. When I think of Jack’s special nature the words of Jesus come to my mind as He praises God “because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned and revealed them to little children.” (matt 11:25) Jack understands somethings that many people will never know. What an inspiration he is to me as I watch him love with abandon, give all of his talents away, obey God without argument, and grieve with his whole heart.