Lucy is in “’OSSO’s Little Ones,” a special needs orphanage in Cuenca, Ecuador. Though she had her 16th birthday last week, Lucy is a one-year-old. For those of you who live in a concrete world where the last sentence is impossible, let me invite you into Lucy’s world.
A 16-year-old girl has a fresh kind of beauty like a spring morning that hints at a beautiful summer to come. There are few 16-year-olds lovelier than Lucy with her shiny black hair, smooth perfect skin, and jet black eyes that flash when she is angry and sparkle when she is not.
Nothing is more lovely than a laughing one-year-old. Her innocence and beauty are made to soften the hardest heart and instill a desire to love and protect. Yes, a one-year-old is literally “adore-able.”
Lucy is both of these things. You could say that Lucy is a one-year-old trapped in a 16-year-old body. Or you could say she is a 16-year-old ruled by a one-year-old brain. Both of these statements are too concrete and miss the essence of Lucy’s world. Lucy is a rare and wonderful combination of infant and young woman that cannot fairly be compared to any other creation. Essentially, I myself realized that in order to truly “see” Lucy’s world, I needed to see her through Jesus’ eyes. In that world, the concrete and tangible give way to empathy and love.
As I watched Michelle, a volunteer from Canada just two years older than Lucy, brush Lucy’s hair, I told Michelle I would let her do all the girls’ hair as that was not one of my abilities.
Michelle laughed and said, “It doesn’t matter; Lucy just loves to have her hair brushed, and she will be beautiful no matter what you do.”
As I thought about Michelle’s profound words, I started to watch them with less concrete eyes. Michelle was not just brushing hair; she was pouring out love to Lucy through her hands and the brush. Lucy was radiating that love back through a one-year-old’s eyes and the serene face of a 16-year-old.
I generally see the world concretely; so later, as I tried to put soft white gloves on Lucy’s cold hands, I resisted the urge to think that it would be much quicker to put mittens or even socks on her hands. It wouldn’t matter. She can’t use her hands, and putting delicate gloves on fingers curled with disuse and contractures is not one of my abilities.
Instead, I entered Lucy’s world and took my time as I used my big warm hands to gently massage Lucy’s cold unique fingers into her gloves. I could tell by her contented face — one that warmed my heart — that she was happy and was overlooking my disabilities in putting on her gloves.
Thank you, Lucy and Michelle. This Christmas, and hopefully forever, I will try to appreciate all of the people who seem imperfect in my concrete world, and see them as Jesus would. I will also try to enter Lucy’s world more often and worry less about my own disabilities and just try to love.
A quick note for those of you worried about Lucy:
Lucy’s safety is continually monitored by video cameras that can even see in the dark. This protection is needed because Lucy’s 16-year-old beauty mixed with her one-year-old innocence make her particularly vulnerable. These cameras, far beyond the budget of the orphanage, are donated and desperately needed as this orphanage that is literally a treasure vault filled with 25 other rare and wonderful creations.
In addition to cameras, we have loving volunteers and staff that enter Lucy’s world every day. Volunteer with OSSO and get to know Lucy and her world.
This blog post is second out of a series of 12 Christmas stories by founder Rex Head. Read the other stories below.