In an orphanage in Jamaica, I spoon fed a teenager. White rice and sauce with meat. She didn’t make eye contact with me or anyone.
The dust from the parched earth was easy to see on her deep brown skin.
She made raspberries with her lips like a baby every third bite or so – lucky for me she turned her head to the side first and aimed at the air, not my face.
I don’t know her name.
I don’t know where or when she was born.
I don’t know if her disability has a label.
But for one hour, she depended on me to insert sustenance into her body.
God made her. Created her in his image. Her ebony skin and black hair were formed intentionally. For a reason.
I ask God why he made her with a body that hasn’t developed into one that can feed itself.
I ashamedly ask God why he made her at all.
Why did her father and mother forsake her? Because of her disability?
What is her purpose on this earth?
Has God failed her?
Or has humanity failed her?
Or have I failed her?
Or does she have the better life, one closer to the Creator, Immanuel, God with us? Is she, in her utter neediness, more aware of him than I?
I have other things to worship. My husband, my kids. Myself. TV, books, technology. Facebook and my friends. My coffee maker and comfortable bed. My job. My abilities, talents, so-called intelligence.
Her life is less muddied. She relies at each meal on another’s hand to hold the spoon.
Why did God make me in this body? At this time and place?
What is my purpose?
Have I failed him?
Do I hungrily devour his daily bread?
Almost every prayer I’ve ever said has included these words, “Thank you for my blessings.” Should I rather say, “Thank you for my deficiencies. For my emptiness and helplessness. For my neediness.”?