I had never met him in person before and yet, there I was a half a world away sitting in a church in Kigali, Rwanda when I turned and looked over my shoulder.
At first, my eyes weren’t sure, but something deep inside was. Amidst a sea of people, there he sat by himself. I quickly turned back to gather my thoughts.
“Could that be him?” I pondered.
Slipping out of my seat, I made my way to the seat directly across the aisle from his when we caught eyes.
“Olivier?” I asked.
Never in a million years did I see what was coming next..
I recently shared about the reality I faced as I placed the final Christmas tree of my daughter’s childhood out on the curb to be picked up. I wanted to hold onto that season for much more than the blur that it was.
After seven miscarriages, this was it. Our only child. How could it all go by in the blink of an eye? Wasn’t it just a moment ago that this gift the form of a miracle came our way?
For years, I kept this primarily to myself (these losses), and chose instead to carry a heavy heart, I just didn’t know what to do with it. On one hand, so blessed with an amazingly beautiful gift. On the other, so grieved with such loss.
To be called dad… if only.
It makes my times with Kira that much more special and that much more appreciated. For I know many who did not receive such a gift. For them, my heart hurts so much.
Looking at this handsome young 22 year old man, I moved towards him saying his name. I was sure, but wasn’t sure, yet my heart was sure. Smiling, he then moved towards me, we both knew then that we were both sure as we gave each other a long hug right there in church while the music was still playing.
It was a homecoming of sorts. We had sponsored Olivier since 2008 through Africa New Life.
And here we were a half a world away sitting in a church in Kigali, Rwanda. Ironically, the pastor speaking today was the very pastor who baptized my own daughter in Kigali, just a few years back.
But, it was then though that everything changed as Olivier, with his soft spoken voice, said something I never felt I would ever hear again after losing so many children by any other voice but my precious daughter’s.
His first words to me were..
“I’m so happy to see you, Daddy.”
Wait? Did he just say that? Did he just call me… daddy?
It was as if God whispered into my very ears at that moment and washed away the tears that had been held back for so very long.
I still sit hear without words to describe that moment other than that of which I just so vulnerably shared. It was like an embrace of sorts. Peace had come and with it.. a healing touch of value and worth were left in its wake.
I am grateful.
Pondering my Rwanda experience