I can't sleep tonight. Too many things running around in my mind and heart. Besides laying in bed and letting them wander around a bit more, I thought you may enjoy getting to know a couple of our Beloved here...
Precious Moona. Guided with my one arm, his swollen feet follow me as I tow him around, encouraging him to walk more than sit, engage more than remain silent. With unknown mental disabilities Moona is God's Most Beloved. He laughs when encouraged, sometimes... I seem to be able to most consistently receive a right side slanted smile when I make him dance with me or tickle his armpits... Recently I have been encouraging him to draw and color with colored pencils on a blank sketchpad... He giggles as he paints lines of various colors weaving through one another, over and below each other. Most often though I find Moona caring for Salim, a blind, deaf, mute beautiful adolescent. A quite illogical choice for a mentally disabled youth to care for a blind, deaf, and mute adolescent - but it works, because I believe it is the choice of God. I see the beauty of God in His eyes.
Our beautiful, naked, laughing, Beloved child of God. Found aprox. 3 years ago on the door-step of a local hospital, Suraj laid with his dying mother at his side. Discovered by and cared for by SA, Suraj's mother died the day she was found. Since then Suraj has grown up and lived within the choatic, lucious, ever-changing Ashram Kids House. Paralyzed from the hips down as a result of Spinal TB, Suraj has taken up residence within a deep place in our hearts. Over the last month he has been sequestered to live at the main Ashram campus, where his pressure sore can be better tracked and accountability for him to remain on his belly can be given. Motivated by attention and love (and the occasional computer game), Suraj's strong will, dominating and "hamish" personality have been a life-giving thread for both Jake and I.
Mahinder Singh is one heck of a crazy man. With engaging and silly eyes he often sits at Old Man's House. Speaking senseless talk and wistling to get others attention, I think Mahinder talks the language of God - silly talk, child-like talk, talk that only makes sense to those who want to listen. I must admit, I'm not the best at this, for often times I end of laughing and tickleing rather than sitting and listening. Yet he continues to wistle for my attention, takes my hand when I am within reach and strokes my face like a father would to his child.
I don't know much about Ramesh. I'm not even quite sure when he came here or where he's from. This is in part because he doesn't really speak outside of occassional silent soft words parting from his lips when he is alone. How you see him here is often how he is positioned and curled up on the outside skirt of the Meeting Circle. It has only been lately that we have developed an unintended expectation-filled realtionship. With the hope of him choosing to walk someday and the knowledge of him being able to do so, each time I pass his compacted frame I uncover his body from the hot wool blanket, take ahold of his ankles and stretch them outward then downward, as if he would be sitting in a chair for evening supper. At first this was a mild struggle, for his life on the streets I'm sure was filled with shame and abandonment. Curled up on the side of the street, hopeful that he wouldn't get in the way of others who had already cast him aside. His legs tight and his gaze fixed on no one, he sat, curled up like a fightened child waiting for his most feared to become reality. He still sits curled up, yet his willingness to stretch his legs is noticeable. There have even been times when Ihave approached him and his legs unfold and he sits up, as though he were a man who possessed dignity and had been given love since birth.
I'm not quite sure what to say about Neeraj. There is so much I could say about this child of Mercy, but for this one time I'm going to share with you the words of Ton as he describes God's fraile Beloved... "At my morning-round I stop at the bedside of Neeraj who was discharged the day before from a reputed hospital. This 19 year old boy received good care in the department for
tuberculosis, though in my heart I’m troubled: his present physical condition is very poor. When I found him on the roadside he did look so young, fragile. Now his eyes are sunken like an old man, the lines around his mouth, when he smiles, deeper, his eyes huge but faded. I sit on his bed, his arms like dry sticks in my palms, I question him, I want to know his story: “Born in Fathepur he prides himself to be of Rajput caste, their house was made of bricks, a stone roof. He never attended school, just went from “here to there”, like a butterfly. His mother died two months ago, she was very skinny, Neeraj told me; she coughed a lot, blood came out. Nobody knew what she died of, she just died. He himself also felt sick, fever in the night, no appetite, loss of weight, coughing blood. In despair he climbed into a train to Delhi thinking money might bring relief.
Only two weeks he managed to clean plates in the cold winter weather, season of marriages, a menial job at the banquets of the rich while he himself starved. Emaciated, not able to walk any longer he lay down in the filth of the Yamuna Bazaar roadside. It was there where I found him, close to death. Diagnosis; pulmonary Koch’s; (tuberculosis) and tuberculosis of the abdomen. I want to hear his story, what was it he experienced while dying on the pavement. “Did no one help you while you were lying at that street-curb” I ask. “No, no one would even bring me water though I was very thirsty”. “Did no one bring you food?” “No, no one brought me food, my only friend abandoned me too” he complains. “Did any one passing by talked to you?”. “Hardly,” he sobbed”. “Did you ever hear of TB?” I inquired. “Never heard of such a thing” he said. “Did the doctor in the hospital explain to you what it is you are suffering from?” “No” was his sad answer, and then: “You are the first one who tells me what tuberculosis is, you and your brothers are the only ones who truly cared”.
His eyes lit up, a smile. Deep sadness came over me, what world are we living in? How unjust this suffering, what an offence to this body, this soul so sacred.
A beautiful Sunday evening meeting. Worshipping the Creator of each of these present individuals, together.