It was one of the hottest
days of the dry season. We had not seen rain in almost a month. The crops were dying. Cows
had stopped giving milk. The creeks and streams were long gone back into the earth. It was
a dry season that would bankrupt seven farmers before it was through. Every day, my
husband and his brothers would go about the arduous process of trying to get water to the
farm. Lately, this process had involved taking a truck to the river and filling it up with
water. But it was so expensive. Even the river was getting low. If we didn't see some rain
soon, we would lose everything.
It was on this day that I
learned the true lesson of sharing, and witnessed the only miracle I have seen with my own
eyes. I was in the kitchen making lunch for my husband and his brothers when I saw
my 6-year-old son, Billy, walking toward the woods. He wasn't walking with the usual
carefree abandon of a youth, but with a serious purpose. I could only see his back. He was
obviously walking with a great effort, trying to be as still as possible. Minutes after he
disappeared into the woods, he came running out again, toward the house. I went back to
making sandwiches, thinking that whatever task he had been doing was completed. Moments
later, however, he was once again walking in that slow purposeful stride toward the woods.
This activity went on for an hour: walk carefully to the woods, run back to the house.
Finally, I couldn't take it any
longer, and I crept out of the house, and followed him on his journey (being very careful
not to be seen, as he was obviously doing important work, and didn't need his Mommy
checking up on him). He was cupping both hands in front of him as he walked, being very
careful not to spill the water he held in them; maybe two or three tablespoons were held
in his tiny hands. I sneaked close as he went into the woods. Branches and thorns slapped
his little face, but he did not try to avoid them.
He had a much higher purpose. As I leaned in to spy on him, I saw the most amazing sight. Several large deer loomed in front of him. Billy walked right up to them. I almost screamed for him to get away. A huge buck with elaborate antlers was dangerously close. But the buck did not threaten him - he didn't even move as Billy knelt down. I saw a tiny fawn laying on the ground, obviously suffering from dehydration, and heat exhaustion, lift its head with great effort to lap up the water cupped in my beautiful boy's hand. When the water was gone, Billy jumped up to run back to the house, and I hid behind a tree. I followed him back to the house, to a spigot connected to an empty tank. Billy opened it all the way up, and a few drops of water began to come out. He knelt there, letting the drip, drip, slowly fill up his makeshift "cup," as the sun beat down on his little back.
Then it came clear to me: the trouble he had gotten into for playing with the hose the week before, the lecture he had received about the importance of not wasting water, and the reason he didn't ask me to help him. It took a minute for the drops to fill his hands. When he stood up and began the trek back, I was there in front of him. His little eyes just filled with tears. "I'm not wasting," was all he said. As he began his walk, I joined him, with a small pot of water from the kitchen. I let him tend to the fawn. I stayed away. It was his job. I stood on the edge of the woods watching the most beautiful heart I have ever known working so hard to save another life. As the tears that rolled down my face began to hit the ground, they were suddenly joined by other drops...and more drops...and more. I looked up at the sky. It was as if God, himself, was weeping. Some will probably say that this was all just a huge coincidence, miracles don't really exist, and it was bound to rain sometime. I cannot argue with such beliefs...I'm not going to try. However, the rain that came that day saved our farm, just like the actions of one little boy who saved another.
This honors the memory of my beautiful Billy, who was taken from me much too soon.... but not before showing me the true face of God, in a little sunburned body.