By Kelsi Holmes, on mission in Madras, India
“Every Wednesday afternoon, we visit a home for mentally disabled children. While the children are physically cared for, they receive very little attention and even less love. We arrived one day to find all of the children in one room with no music, no games, no toys… they sat quietly looking slightly dejected. As soon as we entered the room and sat on the floor, the children surrounded us. They wanted to hold our hands to touch our arms and faces, to sit in our laps, they asked us to sing to them. And so we began the seemingly impossible task of giving love to each one of them. Seemingly impossible because some of them do not speak or communicate in any way, some of them speak but cannot be understood, some are violent in their primal cry for love.
A boy of about 5 or 6 years old came to sit with me one day. He did not speak to me as he laid his head in my lap. He did not ask me for anything as his hand sought mine to hold and to be held. For one hour, this little boy did nothing but sit with his head in my lap while holding my hand, oblivious to the other children as they fought for a moment of my attention. The look on his face was a combination of sadness and comfort and it was clear that this contact, this presence, is what he lacked and also what he needed. My heart cried out to the Lord asking “What do I do? How can I help these children with whom it is impossible even to speak? What can I do?!” As we were leaving, I shared my thoughts with my community sisters. “There is nothing we can do, we must simply be with them. All that we can offer them is our love and that is all they ask,” said Lata. It was the first time that I had come face to face with the charism of Heart’s Home; the charism of simple love and compassion. The only thing we gave to these children was our time, our attention, and our love… yet I could see in their joyful expressions as we sang to them and held them in our laps that it was truly all they needed from us.”