What if…

The other day Evie was looking at my crucifix with a troubled expression on her face. She looked at Mommy and said, “Uh-oh! Jesus ouchie!”
Kathleen answered, “You’re right Evie, He does have an ouchie.”
Evie picked up the crucifix and kissed Jesus, and announced cheerfully, “All better!”

Yesterday we were talking to Uncle Ian on FaceTime and Baby Becca was crying, so Evie had to pick the phone up and hug it to her chest. She was trying to give Baby Becca a hug to make her feel better.

Yesterday I took her with me to confession, and she saw two older children in the pew ahead of us. Without hesitation she walked right up to them with a big old grin and waved and said, “Hi!” Then she took, “Bible book” out of her backpack and started showing it to them, pointing out all her favorite pictures, “Boat!” “Baby” “Lion” “Moo-moo” (cow) “Hoo hoo ha” (monkey).

Watching Evie grow into a toddler who is fast becoming a little girl is without a doubt the most amazing thing that we have ever seen. We are constantly blown away by how smart, sensitive, loving and adventurous she is. It is not something we can take any credit for, she just is as God made her and she blossoms as He designed her to.

Today I had a horrible “what if” moment, as I sometimes do. I thought of Evie being born to someone else, some horrible parents who wouldn’t love her, or who would abuse or neglect her. I thought about her exquisitely loving soul being bruised and degraded and slowly stifled by neglect and suffering and loneliness.

It’s a horrible thought. We are not perfect parents, but we love her, and we do our best. Such is God’s grace that even under our fumbling efforts, Evie is growing like a happy, healthy, loving weed. Thank God she does not have to endure abuse.

It was a silly, unproductive “what if,” a senseless worry, but it is not without its edge of truth. The horrible truth is that it happens all the time. There are millions of children around the world living in situations of neglect, deprivation, and downright abuse. Just thinking about it in connection with my daughter makes my heart race and my fists clench, and that is the reality of daily life for millions of children. Not only does Evie have the right to safety, security and a loving home, so does every child.

This is why when I graduate from PA school I cannot allow myself to get sucked into the standard 9-to-5 corporate American medicine gig. I will work as I have to in order to pay the bills, but God hasn’t put me here just to work 30 years, cookout on the weekends, go on vacation, retire and play bingo until I die. He has put me here with work to do, and given me brains, muscle and health, and even a bit of wealth. I must get out of the American dream before it kills my soul. I must find some way to help the children in greatest need, or else I must face Jesus when I die and hear Him say “Whatever you did not do for one of these, the least of my brethren, you did not do it for me.”

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