I remember a sermon preached by Dr. John Claypool during a religious emphasis week while attending Gardner Webb University. His sermon was entitled, as I remember, “The presence of the absence”. His sermon was about the death of his young daughter and how the presence of her absence made the fact that she had been a part of his life even more real.
So many times in the lives of our children, the absence of the presence of parental love and care simply highlights how important that kind of love and care is to our lives. It makes me grateful for the loving family that I was a part of growing up. And at the same time, I am deeply grateful that BCH can, in some ways, step in and make up for the absences in the lives of children in our care.
Some days what our children are missing seems overwhelming to me. Things that I, and perhaps you, took for granted. A safe home environment, caring parents, enough to eat, opportunity to develop their gifts and abilities, family vacations, someone to model God's love for them. When I think about missing those things as a child, I am so very grateful for what I experienced growing up.
BCH, with your help, is committed to giving the children in our care good memories. So, that in years to come, there will not just be thoughts of what they missed but special memories of what they had - like swimming in a cool pool on a hot summer day and being showed God's love through the kindness of committed houseparents.
As I write to you this morning, our children that live on our Mills Home Campus are on their way to a water park. Yesterday at church they could not contain their excitement. Several children ran up to me to announce their excitement, sharing the different things they were going to experience.
One young man after telling me all about his plans for the trip to the water park lingered for a moment. I had heard he was going with his grandparents on vacation. So I asked about their plans. He shared that they were going to the Beach. He turned to leave and stopped and said, “I am going to see my Mom while on vacation.” I know his story, so I was a bit caught off guard. I could see the emotions of apprehension, excitement and desire to see her all wrapped up together.
“I have not seen her in more than five years,” he shared. He was a small child when she left, but the memory of her is still there.
I am praying for him. My first prayer is that she will show up as promised. My second prayer is that she will recognize what a fabulous young boy he has turned out to be and will show how proud she is of him.
During the absence of his mother in his life you have been a presence. You have been a presence of hope. Through your gifts and prayers you have been there to provide a safe home environment, caring houseparents, enough to eat, opportunity to develop his gifts and abilities, and lots of people to model God’s love for him.
I ask you to stop for a moment and pray for our children. Pray for our staff as we strive to fill the moments of absence with the presence of God’s love.