It's Sunday evening, and I am sitting on my couch near the kitchen with the ingredients I brought from the store still in bags. I stopped by the grocery around 1pm after leaving Intensive Care where Jordan, Gwen, and their family were saying goodbye to their five year old baby girl, Keesha. She has been kept alive the past 24 hours on a respirator after suffering a horrible accident on Saturday evening. Her hair is still in neat cornrows with shiny clear beads that look like tiny prisms. This morning, we offered prayers and anointed her with oil. The family wept and held onto each other as Psalms 139 and 23 were read. I left as they continued to grieve this precious child who was pronounced dead at 2:57pm, May 27th. Sometimes when I leave a deathbed, I feel compelled to bake something and present it as an offering. It's like a silent ritual that has become a way to work out my grief. But today, when I got home with the ingredients, Jordan called to say that even though her baby girl died, she is still on a ventilator for another day so that Keesha’s organs can be donated. Jordan's call made me take to the couch. It feels like I want to raise a white flag and wave it and say, I surrender. Jordan is an orphan from Brazil who has described, in her own words, that she lived through times where she was treated "worse than a dog." A couple from the United States adopted her when she was 9, but she was on the streets by the time she was 16. When she got pregnant at 19, she called the baby "her light." She got clean and sober and never prostituted or did drugs again. She and her sweet daughter share the same birthday. They are exactly 20 years apart.
When I left the hospital, Jordan was draped over the bed -- too exhausted to grieve standing up. And now, she is offering all the child's organs to others in need. It is an act of generosity and bravery beyond anything I have seen. I know she knows about loss and pain. I know she knows about how love heals. It makes me weep to imagine her lifting her head off the bed and saying, "Yes, you can take my precious child's heart." Not tear up, weep. It makes me want to be grateful for everything and love everyone with gentleness. It makes me want to take a wide turn around theology and stay close to the ground. I want to get back up, but first I want to weep a bit longer at the enormous task we have been given: to love one another. All our prayers are with Jordan and Gwen and their families.
Keesha, you are a light.
Peace and love,