Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Cup - 10-25-12 Deadline (10/18/12)
TITLE: Living on Mission
By Theresa Santy
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Six years later, on a lead grey day in the middle of March, I happened to cruise past Hunter’s crumbling apartment structure. My eyes brightened when I saw the slight, quivering child sitting alone on a broken step. In truth, it had been no accident that I found myself driving through this particular neighborhood. I had recently disembarked from a women’s ministry retreat titled, “Remembering the Poor.” The message of the retreat had lit a fire inside my heart, propelling me to search diligently for someone in need.
The boy was perfect.
I breathed a quick prayer, left the safety of my Prius, and cut across a sidewalk littered with unemployed residents. Dozens of eyes pressed hard against my back, but I had no fear. The Lord was my shield, and I had Mace besides.
I sat next to the boy and told him my name.
“I’m Hunter,” he replied with a smile.
A crisp, late winter breeze blew through the holes of the boy’s jeans. I made a mental note to buy this child some new clothes, but surely, there was something else that could be done.
“What are you doing out here by yourself?” I asked.
“I’m thinking about Jesus,” he said simply.
This surprising comment knocked me speechless. For the next hour, Hunter and I sat on the broken step in silence; he, no doubt continuing to think about Jesus, and me, running through my never ending To Do list, while the loitering unemployed residents faded into their own conversations.
I made a weekly habit of visiting Hunter on the broken step. It soon became apparent that what Hunter liked most, was for the two of us to sit in silence, contemplating Jesus. Though the boy always outlasted me in this endeavor I tried my best to comply. Hunter was always more willing to talk after these reflections.
Over time, I learned that Hunter and his mother lived alone, and though his mother held down two jobs, she struggled to keep food on the table. Hunter’s medical bills were exorbitant. The child was sick often, so often that he did not attend school, but there was a woman named Molly who lived next door and home-schooled the boy in her spare time. Molly was the one responsible for teaching Hunter about Jesus. Hunter’s mother preferred Buddha.
I learned much about Hunter during our after-Jesus-reflection conversations, but what I struggled to figure out, was how in the world I could make a difference. I helped with the medical bills, bought food and clothes, and occasionally shared dinner with Hunter and his mother, but still, I felt I should do more.
One day, I asked Hunter frankly, “What do you need?”
The quivering boy looked up and smiled.
“Nothing,” he said. “I have God. My cup is full.”
Months of weeks passed. I grew fond of time spent reflecting Jesus at Hunter’s side. Rain or shine, I returned at the same time each week to visit the boy. Sometimes, the boy had fallen sick, and our visits had to be relocated to his bed, or worse, to the hospital. We continued our practice of reflecting on Jesus. I persisted in searching for a need to be filled. And always, Hunter insisted his cup was full.
But Hunter’s sickly disposition never went away. One glistening day in the middle of spring, three years after the boy and I had begun meeting each week without fail; the boy lost a battle with pneumonia. Just like that, Hunter was gone.
Hong Yen and I clung to each other at the funeral. Together we stood, staring into the boy’s open casket. After a great length of trembling silence, Hong Yen wiped her tears.
“He look like peace,” she said, and she gazed at me as if she had fallen into shock, or had been struck hard on the head. “His face make me reconsider my faith!”
I smiled and nodded. That precious face had made me reconsider my faith too. That boy had changed my life.
I will never forget my dear friend Hunter, the gaunt, quivering child, whose cup had always been so full; it spilled into the emptiness of mine.
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