Sunday, April 25, 2010

Sunday Reflection - Try Counting Your Blessings

When I moved to Buffalo I immediately joined the nearest library, which happens to be on the street where I live.

I love this library because it is near my home and it is always filled with immigrant children. They are from the continent of Africa, South East Asia, the Middle East and Burma. Some are Muslim and Buddhist. They are a joy to be around and their evident passion for books and computers is delightful. Over the years I have made friends with the wonderful Librarians and with the children.

Last week one of the children, a small 8-year-old boy was killed. He and his brothers and sisters were leaving the library - he was happy, laughing and not paying attention – he ran into the street without looking where he was going and was immediately hit by a car. All of the children witnessed this – they ran back into the library to get help from the librarians. All of the librarians rushed out to help but realized that he was dead. I heard the news on the radio, and when I went to the library I learned that it was Tumaini. This little boy who had come to this country as a refugee from the violence and hardship in his native land is now dead.

A few days later the librarians and I attended the funeral and attempted to comfort the family. The church was filled to brimming with the local immigrant community, many cultures were in attendance. There were Africans, Hispanics, Vietnamese, Middle Eastern, Burmese – hundreds of people who spoke different languages but who were there because of the common language of kindness and compassion to a family who had just lost a child.

When I saw Tumaini in the casket he did not have a visible scratch on his sweet little face. He was wearing a suit, his eyes were closed and his long eyelashes lay on his cheek. A happy, loving, vibrant little boy, who died in an instant and who will never be forgotten by this community. His name, Tumaini, means ‘Peace” in his native language.

Before I left the church I prayed for Tumaini’s family, for all of the immigrants who have lived lives of hardships that we can only imagine. I prayed for the 18- year-old driver of the car who just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time and who will never forget this.

I prayed for the librarians who loved this little boy and who cradled him in their arms with love at the scene of the accident, and I gave a prayer of gratitude for my own life and my family for all of the gifts that we are given unconditionally by a power higher than us.

I share this with you as a reminder that most of us really have very little to complain about and we sometimes forget to take note of the goodness in our lives. The next time that you are feeling low in spirits try counting your blessings.


1 comment:

Michaelann Bewsee said...

What a sad story and yet what a lesson to be learned-- how short life is, how much we take life for granted.