Alissa's boxes told the story
In Doug Lawson’s book Give to Live, he shares a wonderful story which exemplifies the true meaning of giving. The tale so vividly reminds me of our ministry here at Baptist Children’s Homes (BCH), I had to share it.
When William was five years old he developed Von Recklinghausen’s disease.
Tumors covered his small body. At age 12, his parents died leaving him to face this physical nightmare alone. As a teenager he was subjected to cruel rejection. To numb his pain he turned to alcohol and drugs.
His desperation led him into crime. By the time he was 21, Willie was in prison. Rejected by the inmates, he spent his days in solitary confinement.
Dr. Darrell Davis heard about Willie. He offered to perform an experimental, new surgery to help Willie. Sixteen operations later, Dr. Davis came to Willie’s cell with a brightly wrapped gift on the inmate’s birthday. Davis’s patient tore the paper away and found himself looking into a mirror. Looking back was a face free of tumors. He began to weep, reached his arms around Dr. Davis, and the men hugged.
Willie’s life changed immediately. He returned to society and began a new life. From then until his death, Willie was known as an outstanding citizen – always reaching out to others with a helping hand.
There are so many Willies in the world, and many of those BCH serves are like Willie.
But unlike Willie, their infirmities are hidden. Their grief and despair are buried deep inside, trapping them in darkness.
Like Willie, some have tried to escape through alcohol and drugs – some have thought of suicide. Just as Dr. Davis was there to offer hope, we are here to offer hope. BCH’s cottage parents, case managers and foster parents are the Dr. Davis’s in their worlds. Like Dr. Davis, they work obsessively, committed to liberate those we serve from their personal prisons.
Like Willie, Alissa’s scars were very real – her personal prison was very real.
To the casual observer it looked like a couple of boxes of odds and ends.
Somebody else’s junk. They were filled with clothes, school papers and books, family pictures, and cherished mementos. The box also held a large pink stuffed rabbit given to Alissa by a school teacher. When Alissa’s cottage parent introduced me to her, Alissa shared how glad she was to be at Mills Home in Thomasville. She had only arrived at the cottage just a few minutes before I had. Her cottage mom was helping her get settled.
I watched the cottage mom reach out with such love and warmth. She tenderly cared for a girl whose scars ran deep.
I looked at Alissa’s boxes and thought that this child’s life was in those boxes. They held her treasures that help her recall the memories of her lifetime. I thought of Alissa and the many placements she had lived before and how at each placement something had been added to the boxes.
The boxes not only told of where this child had been but also held the evidence of the scars she carried. The boxes told the story of what was missing from her life.
At BCH, we know we can’t go back and fill in the gaps or undo the wrongs that have been inflicted on the precious children in our care. But we can make a difference while they are here, despite how staggering the task may be. We stand committed and determined to give them a life-changing gift – a precious gift of hope!
Over time, I continued to watch Alissa experience healing as she experienced God’s love. Like Willie, Alissa’s scars began to heal. She began to see herself through a new mirror, one that reflects a person created in God’s image. Through the gift of love and care, Alissa has a future filled with hope.
Please give so that others may live. Call me at 336-689-4442. I love and appreciate you so very much and would be honored to share how your gift makes a life changing difference everyday here at BCH.