Some lives are worth more than others.
As painful as it is to read those words, it does not remotely compare to experiencing it first hand in a third world country where ones’ assigned value is equitable to a life sentence. A value that is often unjustly derived by a society immensely unqualified to evaluate it. A society that dictates paths and closes doors solely based on a perceived notion of worth. In such a society, where does that leave those that are deemed worthless? Those that are seemingly unable to contribute to the world, let alone care for themselves. The “special needs” that are set aside, dismissed and shut out from the gates of society. The gates, that time and time again, are crushed wide open by God’s providence. Egypt’s beauty is found in this everyday struggle that is continually juxtaposed by God’s presence among those oppressed. I have been blessed with the opportunity to witness this beauty first hand while volunteering in Egypt this last summer.
This story is about a little boy named Mina who stole my heart and in exchange left me with one of the most valuable lessons I can learn; “Special needs have a basic need”. Mina is a 4 year old boy. Like any 4 year old boy, he likes laughs, tickles, hugs and candy, all of which I used to win him over. He is sweet and the kindness in his eyes radiates. Mina is a 4 year old boy that also has special needs. When I first met Mina this last summer, his clothes were dirty and worn. He had cuts and bruises on his feet from not wearing shoes and his face and finger nails were full of dirt from playing on the streets. After visiting his sister and speaking with her, I asked if I can sit with him for a while. She explained that he doesn’t take well to strangers but reluctantly agreed. By the end of the visit, he was sitting on my lap and wouldn’t let us leave to go to the next home. His sister was equally confused and amazed at his attachment and asked what I did. As I held back the tears and attempted to formulate a response, all I could say was ‘I love him’. How I was able to fall in love with this little boy in a few short hours is a mystery I’ll never be able to understand or explain. How was I to explain the emotional need this boy had, when I can clearly see his physical needs were not being met? Mina is a 4 year old boy not only with special needs, but with a basic need to be loved, loved like the child of the King that he is.
In a world that is so broken, it is easy to get lost in the numbers. The number of children like Mina, that need to be loved, but love is not about numbers. Katie Davis, a missionary who dedicated her life to service, articulates it perfectly when she said “I have learned that I will not change the world, Jesus will do that. I can however, change the world for one person…And if one person sees the love of Christ in me, it is worth every minute. In fact, it is worth spending my life for.”
Although I can only pray and hope that the few hours I spent with Mina provided him with the ability to see the love of Christ in me, I am blessed that I was able to see the love of Christ in him, and that is a treasure I have carried with me daily and will continue to do so.