Monday, 15 December 2008

Making a connection

Tonight we were somewhere in the region of Međugorje. You’ll forgive me for not being specific but it was dark and raining and I was tired and not really paying attention. I wasn’t driving either! We were visiting an orphanage to perform and puppet show, a dance and some drama, and to give out Christmas shoeboxes. I don’t think I’ve been in an orphanage before and I certainly wasn’t expecting what I experienced. We walked in to a room full of children, from tots to teenagers, sitting on benches smiling and singing song after song unaccompanied.

We set up and did our show but what I’ll remember most happened after that. As the team set about distributing boxes to grateful recipients I felt a tug on my trousers. I looked down to see a small boy hugging my leg. He looked up, smiling but not saying anything. Realising I was in a poor position to initiate conversation I reach for my camera to show him the pictures I’d just taken of the dancers and the boxes. He made positive sounding noises and was then whisked away, presumably he should really have stayed seated.

As we drove home I thought about it. There was a challenge to his action. I had gone out to do what I had to do tonight: carry things, set them up, packed them down. He had done what I should have be looking to do, instead of hiding behind my responsibilities. He made a connection. He did something spontaneous that will be remembered. A random act of kindness, if you will. Suitably upstaged by a boy whose name I’ll probably never know I’ll grab a metaphoric red pen and scribble a big ‘must try harder’ over tonight’s experience.

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