Saturday, March 26, 2011

Drama in Cusco

We have had a little bit of drama in Cusco as of late. Some of you may have heard that Emma’s little bunny Oreo had given up the ghost and went home to the little carrot field in the sky. What I am about to write is a touching story of the heart, where the precious little hearts of a couple of young missionary girls have been broken. The story is much more than that, but I will get started.

A few days ago, while my wife was in the US, the drama started. It was early in the morning when Kayle, our oldest daughter, ran upstairs to check on the bunnies. She frantically screamed, ran downstairs from the roof and began to exclaim the words, “Oreo is dead. He’s all stiff.”

Those words were not softened; just raw words like a spear into Emma’s heart (my youngest daughter). She quickly ran upstairs to check on her bunny to find, just as Kayle described, a stiff bunny, dead as can be. Emma immediately fell to her knees, both hands covering her sobbing face. It was total and utter devastation. She was crushed.

I quickly joined in and comforted my precious princess, but at that point, I am not sure there was anything that could relieve the deep hurt and pain that Emma was feeling. It also hurt me as a parent to see my little angel hurting so deeply. What was I to do?

Well, we needed to do something with the little stiff corpse of a rabbit. I cautiously asked the girls about what we should do. They suggested that we bury her. As I looked around the concrete jungle in which we are living, I saw no place that would work as a burial plot. So the wheels continued to spin. One place came to mind. It was a place that we like to go as a family to do picnics and hike around and climb around on the rocks and ruins. It is a place called The Temple of the Moon.

With a stiff bunny in a plastic grocery bag, where everyone can see that we were carrying a dead bunny, we hailed a taxi and up to the Temple of the Moon we went. This area is a pretty location with lots of green grass and a wonderful view of the valley. What a great place to lie to rest a precious little bunny.

Many of you know my little Emma. She hardly ever chooses the simple way. Typically it is the opposite of what you want. With that being said, she decided that she wanted to bury her little Oreo in the middle of some farmer’s field on the route to the Temple of the Moon. I did my best to influence her to choose a different spot as I was sure that tilling up poor Oreo each time the farmer came by with his implements, would be a tough place to lay and rest for eternity. She conceded and we continued down the path which led us to the Temple of the Moon. We ascended the huge granite rock structure via trail. It was right there in the middle of the trial that Emma wanted to lay her bunny to rest: Right in the middle of the trail where thousands of feet have trampled and packed down the dirt to create a sort of concrete walkway. Yep, this is where Emma wanted to bury her sweet Oreo. Impossible, but her desire none the less.

Once again, I danced around the issue of burying the bunny on the impermeable hard pack path. I suggested everything easy. Emma was not about to do easy. It was an eternity, or so it seemed, until we were able to agree on another spot. It was here that the final resting place for Oreo was to be.

It was a small crag in the rock, just wide enough to insert a stiff bunny. So I did the honors. I placed the little critter in the crack, with a bit of force to make sure she was down far enough. Then I asked the girls to gather rocks with which we piled over the top of the grave. Job complete!

Just as we finished the grave, my oldest, Kayle, asked, “Dad, can I say a few words?”

It was right out of an old cowboy movie. Of course I would let her say a few words. As I stood behind my little ladies, I found myself holding back tears and utter gut busting belly laugh. It was the cutest thing one could imagine; my two daughters standing side by side; Big sister holding hands and comforting her little sister. Dad standing behind, tears in his eyes, feeling the pain of his hurting daughters. It was emotional for sure.

Kayle proceeded to say a few words. As she spoke to her sister’s bunny as if Oreo was a person standing in front of us, she began pointing out some accomplishments of Oreo’s life. “Oreo, you were a great bunny. You brought so much joy to our family. We loved you so much…” on an on it went. With each statement, I melted down bit by bit. It was a moment to capture.

The service continued, with the final statements from Kayle. It was beautiful to watch her saying such wonderful words about Oreo while reaching over to put her arm around her grieving sister’s waist. Then it was on to the closing prayer. The three of us gathered in a group hug type of formation. I called on God to heal the broken hearts of my daughters, to help us focus on the good that Oreo had brought to our lives, and for mommy to get back soon.

After the “amens” were said, it was over. The closure had taken place. The girls were ready to get on with the day. It was a relief, but it was not an easy day.

Something incredible happened shortly thereafter. It was something that had been brewing inside my oldest princess Kayle. She told me she had an idea. I was not sure what that might entail, probably something about McDonalds and ice cream. I asked her to elaborate. It was at that moment that one of my proudest Daddy moments came to pass.

She timidly spoke up and asked, “ Dad, can I give Cookie(Kayle’s bunny) to Emma? She can have her completely. She really needs a bunny right now.”

In a matter of seconds my daughter brought me to a point where I could hardly stand the emotions that had started stirring inside my proud father’s heart. What is this kind of daughter which blesses me so? It was pure unselfishness, unlike so many things that surround our lives. Pure love! Pure sacrifice. It was a moment that I will not soon forget. Gotta love em!

It was that event that made me reflect on the love and sacrifice that God has for each of us. He was willing to give His son in place of our sins and our death. Kayle was willing to let her beloved bunny go to repair the damage of the lost and beloved Oreo. How simple a story: how powerful a message. It is just like God to use a silly story of a dead bunny to stir us up in a way that helps us ponder His greatness and His great sacrifice. Don’t take those little stories for granted. When you get a chance, say a prayer for my little Emma.


Chris said...

What precious girls you have. How blessed I was to be in Cusco with your family to experience the treasures that you call your beloved daughters. My prayers go out to Emma and Kayle and praises to God for the work he is doing in and around your family.

Anonymous said...

I am crying right now! Reading that was just so wonderfully sweet! God has blessed you and Teri with such a wonderful family, and you have both done such a wonderful job in continually pointing your children to Him! It is so great to see God working in little hearts! Praying for you guys! Brad and I miss your family!!!