The holidays are right around the corner. We saw giant Christmas trees standing tall in the city, we read the joyfulness from the sparkling decorations in malls, we ran into families carrying jammed-packed shopping bag cheerfully hurrying home.
Yet, an unbearable fact is, there are always a certain group of people who are deprived of happiness, they absolutely deserve more attention and solicitude, but that’s not the case for the time being, and what’s even worse is, they seem to have been ignored and forgotten.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer once said that “The test of the morality of a society is what it does for its children.” And our society apparently isn’t doing enough for them.
The test of the morality of a society is what it does for its children.— Dietrich Bonhoeffer
They, are a group of vision-impaired children from a local child welfare. Some brothers and sisters from our church pay them regular visits. Every time we bring along food, toys and a couple-hour childish heart, hanging out with them through chit chat and games — I’ve never talked in such childish manner in nearly two decades since I grew into a grown-up, but whenever I was requested to tell a fairy tale with some random kido’s sleeve-grabbing, I tried my best to put on the good papa image and child’s tone to tell something about the evil wolf and good-hearted pig from my remote and broken childhood memory, in which my mom used to send me to sleep with home-made stories.
That’s my way of making them happy, while the rest of our group do whatever they are good at to please them. Some singing, some teaching handicrafting, and so forth. Some who’re less talented — me for instance — stuck at talking with them.
We’ve been doing this for a while, and in the time leading up to the holiday season, we figured it’s time to treat them with a group lunch. While we were at table, the scene they were merrily gobbling up meals brought about mixed feelings. It’s good to see how delightful they were at that moment and it’s heartbreaking to envision how life would treat them in the long run.
As Jesus lectured in Matthew “The eye is the lamp of the body. So if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness (Matt 6:22-23) ”.
For them, the light in their body was stripped right away even before their birth and what greets and accompanies them is life-long darkness, which partially explains their occasional oddity, compounded by the cruelty they’re all far away from home with no parental care — some were adopted and then sent away, repeatedly. In my last visit, I made friends with two kids. One named Jia De who aged seven while the other named Lu Jia who is probably a little bit over six. While I was busy at putting myself together to tell one after another wolf/piggie story to Jia De, he made a surprising request to call his parents in Shan’Xi province from my phone. Not sure if they are allowed to do so, I got through a good friend to let them talk for a while.
The other thing is, individually they’re all adorable but not really being nice to each other. They are taken care of by child welfare, attending blind school and living in dorms that accommodate 7 — 8. The institutional staff are either short-handed or haven’t realized (or both) to give what these kids really need in addition to their bodily needs — parental care. That’s why Jia De and Lu Jia always tried to turn each other away so they can get my full attention — sometimes at the expense of waving their little fists at each other. Just like how many children misbehave in an aim to get attention.
While we were leaving that day, Jia De grabbed my shirt slowly but firmly insisting: Please don’t go, I want you to stay, I will share my stuff here with you. I assured him that I’d back more often, and at that moment I made up a mind to operate a child welfare of my own in my later years. As I disappear into the twilight of my life, I can see young, fresh and new life rise into the sunlight of dawn. How great would that be?
We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light. — Plato
Plato said that “We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.” Those kids with impaired vision, they were born into the dark of unfairness, and then we’re supposed to step in to serve as the light in their body, and life.
(also appears on Medium)