Even tough boys need love…….

The Green Bamboo shelter for street boys is where Silas and I  have been spending our Friday morning’s for the past few months.  One of our favorite kids is Tri. He befriended Si the first day, and every week we look forward to seeing him.  Lately Arlo’s been coming along with us and now he and Tri are good friends. In fact I think Arlo would move in if I’d let him.

Today Tri met us at the door.  He was unusually somber and didn’t follow us upstairs.  Disappointed,  Lolo waited in the hallway with their coloring books…

I went in and started talking with some of the other boys… I could hear a child crying somewhere in the house.  Tri came in. His eyes were red, his cheeks were smudged with dirt. I sat next to him. Water pooled below his dark brown eyes. He wiped his face, he tried to hold it back….he wanted to be tough, but it was too much, the tears came hot and fast.  I moved closer. Tentatively he layed his head to my chest.  Slowly he wrapped his skinny arm around my waist then his hand gripped my shirt. I folded him into me.

Tri should be given what he’s crying for.  What he craves to his core is his birthright. I know that he is not the only one. His voice is an echo of so many others. Every nation on the planet knows this pain. These cries are not for food or water but it is just as much a necessity.  He speaks English but today through his tears comes the language of his land the language of his circumstance, but I recognize the name he calls out. We all do.“Mer…Mer.” His request is simple,  he cries out for his mom. I understand this. We have all wanted it from our own mothers and I’ve felt the need for it from my own sons.   To be held and cared for. To feel unconditional love.  It’s like the sun and the rain to a blade of grass. It feeds our souls.

I hold him closer until his crying stops. Arlo quietly watches then sets up a coloring book and some crayons at another table.  Tri looks up and he wipes his tears; a small smile crosses his beautiful face as he joins Arlo.  I ask another  boy if something happened. He told me that some of the boys had gone to visit their families  but his mom didn’t want to see him. My heart breaks into a thousand pieces.

It almost time for us to go, Tri doesn’t want us to leave. He holds on to Arlo. He draws a heart on Arlo’s hand then writes “Don’t Forget me” on his arm.. Arlo gives Tri the coloring books and markers.

Tri leads Arlo to the “sleeping room” (no beds just a hard floor for 30 of the 60 boys) and pulls a box of old cookies from his locker. He gives them to Lolo.  Arlo hugs him tight.

We hear laughter as we head downstairs. Their are a bunch of boys packed into a room getting their hair cut.  Life goes on in the shelter……….

As I lay in bed that night I wonder how many of those boys that seem so tough cry themselves to sleep each night. It brings tears to my eyes. I go around the house taking turns laying next to my sleeping children whispering words of love into their dreams. I wish I could do the same for the boys at green bamboo.

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