The Prodigal Mother
As part of the Little More Love team, we visit patients who have been affected by cancer once a month. Over the past year, I’ve had the opportunity to sing, dance and paint with children who have cancer, and it’s been an incredible blessing.
The thing about playing with these children is that apart from the IV tube on their wrists, and the falling hair due to chemotherapy sessions, they don’t let you know that they are sick. The atmosphere around them is always one of joy and the energy that they carry is contagious.
Of course, that’s not always the case. I’ve also had the painful opportunity to watch children with horrifying tumours that made it almost impossible for them to speak, move or even breathe. I remember one of them – Nithilan, whose death left me in tears for days…
Yes, the hospital visits have their ups and downs. There’s either extreme joy or there’s extreme sorrow.
But today, I got to witness both of them together at the same time.
As we were waiting at the hospital parking, we noticed a woman carrying her child, hurriedly walking towards the front gate. We could tell from the hairfall that the child she was carrying had cancer. But she walked in haste; and there seemed to be a look of joy mixed with anxiety on her face.
We watched her as one of the hospital’s regular visitors told us her story. The little boy she carried, her son, had leukemia; and he had been brought to this hospital by his mother from their village which was far away.
During this time, the mother was pregnant and she had given birth to a baby girl, back in her village. Because her oldest son was sick, she had to leave the newly born child behind in someone else’s care and had to come to Bangalore, to be with her son.
Eight months had passed, and finally, someone was bringing her daughter to Bangalore.
For eight whole months, she hadn’t been able to hold her child. She hadn’t seen her face, or been able to watch her grow, or even feed her.
And finally she was going to…
We saw her enter through the gate again. Her son, being held by a man (her husband), followed her. In her arms, was this beautiful little girl; and on her face was the most peaceful smile I had seen. She came to where we were gathered and spoke to the person who was telling us the story, and then she turned to us, a random group of strangers, and said in a childlike voice, “Look! Look! My daughter is here. In my arms. She’s here and I’m holding her.”
And she broke into tears…
Struggling to wipe them off her face, she continued, “All these days she was with someone else, but now she’s here. She’s here!”
It broke my heart and filled it with joy at the same time. A mother who was going through a situation that no parent should ever go through was finally re-united with her daughter.
And as much as it shook me, I was also reminded of what a mother’s love, or a father’s love, really feels like.
I was reminded of the story of the prodigal son and even the story of the shepherd who left his ninety-nine sheep to go look for the one that was missing.
The child probably knew very little of what was going on. But the mother’s heart was filled with love for her. She longed to see her. She ran to the gate to look for her little girl. She had waited for so long, and when she heard that her daughter was coming, she didn’t just wait for her to come, but she ran, as fast as she could, to meet her, to hold her and to love her.
To me, that’s what God is like, and that’s the reminder for us today – that the Father longs to see us.
He has been waiting for so long, and He’s looking out, waiting for us to come home. If He hears that we are headed towards Him, He is going to run out to the gate, not holding anything back, and He’s going to carry us, joyfully proclaiming, “Look! My son is here, my daughter is here..in my arms.”