Monday, July 19, 2010

Her name was Jaqueline

J is progessing incredibly well. But should I say incredibly when we believe in a God for whom "nothing is impossible" (Luke 1:37)?

He is one of two boys in our care from Crackland (in his case, two years) and when we took him in last April he showed clear signs of crack-induced malnutrition, with emaciated limbs and bloated stomach.

Over the past two months he has integrated well into life at the rescue house, asserting a fierce intelligence (he clearly studied, at some point in his young life) and a biting wit. Upon arrival, he insisted on converting the small art room into his personal office and asked that all messages be conveyed through his secretary. When I asked - tongue in cheek - what her name was, he asked me for a pen and paper and carefully wrote the following:

Piecing together these boys' past lives is part of the challenge and appeal of the work. Deciphering the fragmented memories, embellishments and (at times) clear fabrications with patience and grace is a skill one doubtless develops over many years.

J - who are you now?

He has also started family visits (where his mother comes to the office and a supervised meeting is arranged) with the aim of reintegrating him back home by the end of the year. As a precursor to the visits, he asked if he could write a letter, which I have extracted below only to give an indication of the boys' mindsets at this stage:


Mum - sorry

Mum, I'm sorry that you suffered because of me.
I do not know if you will want me home after all the suffering I have caused.
  • I can now swim
  • Play ball
  • I have learned to ride a bike
  • I will start studying
Mum I love you.

Although (of course) there are ups and (seemingly just as many) downs, I continue to urge J not to be distracted from pressing on. It remains a privilege to work with him.

See they look old in photographs compared with what they look now. Only they weren't. They were lads same as you.
And just as grand.

Waiting for the Telegram (Alan Bennett)

1 comment:

Susanna Metzger said...

Oh, Luke. Makes me cry.

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