My heart was so heavy I could hardly breathe. I moved about my work day, feeling heavy with burdens. “I’m struggling so much, Jesus,” I told Him over and over and over.
It was recces. I had come outside as a scout to see if the other paras were ready for our class to come out. One of the employees who worked the grounds came up to me. “Excuse me,” he said. “This little fellow hit his head.” He gestured to where a little boy was crying, alone. I probably wouldn’t have noticed him if the man hadn’t pointed him out.
I figured this was more important than the scouting mission. I came over to the little one and knelt in front of him. “Hey, what happened?” I asked in a gentle voice. He was crying so hard he could barely breathe. I rubbed his back–something my dad used to do for me when I was upset. “I heard you hit your head,” I continued. “Where does it hurt?”
Still crying, he showed me. I looked around. All the other paras were busy. “Well, we should get you to the nurse to be sure you’re okay,” I told him. “Do you want me to carry you?”
He nodded, the poor thing. Moments like these, I feel like a mom. I picked him up and set him on my hip, and his little hands held tightly to my jacket, his tear-streaked face against my shoulder. He was drawing in sharp, sobbing breaths. I carried him in then, walking slowly.
I’m petite, and he was still a little one, but not overly little. But I didn’t mind. If I’d hit my head, I’d want to be carried too.
The burden in my heart didn’t lighten, but helping a little one helped me. I wish he hadn’t hit his head. I wish he wasn’t crying. I couldn’t do anything about his pain, but I could be a comfort to him and carry him in.
I got him to the school nurse, asking one of the other paras as I passed, to radio my class about recess. My coworkers were very understanding when I told them why I hadn’t returned from my scouting mission.
As for the little one: I left him safely in the care of the nurse. She knew what she was doing. All that was needed of me was to be a comfort, and to carry him into her.
And, somehow, my heart lightened.