It was one of the hottest days of the dry season. Crops were dying, cows had stopped giving milk, and the streams were dry and rocky. Severe rationing had cut everyone off. If we didn’t see some rain soon...we would lose everything. It was on this day that I witnessed a true miracle of sharing.
I was in the kitchen making lunch when I saw my six-year-old son, Billy, walking toward the woods. He wasn't walking with the usual carefree abandon of a youth but with a serious purpose and with great effort, trying to be as still as possible. Minutes after he disappeared into the woods, he came running out again, toward the house. I went back to making sandwiches, thinking that his task had been completed. Moments later, however, he repeated the process, his careful walk to the woods. This activity went on for an hour.
Finally I couldn't take it any longer and I crept out of the house and followed him on his journey (being very careful not to be seen. He was cupping both hands in front of him as he walked, being very careful not to spill the water he held in them ... maybe two or three tablespoons. I sneaked close as he went into the woods. Branches and thorns slapped his little face, but he did not try to avoid them. He had a much higher purpose. As I leaned in to spy on him, I saw the most amazing site.
Several large deer loomed in front of him. Billy walked right up to them. I almost screamed for him to get away. A huge buck with elaborate antlers was dangerously close. But the buck did not threaten him...he didn't even move as Billy knelt down. And I saw a tiny fawn lying on the ground; obviously suffering from dehydration and heat exhaustion, lift its head with great effort to lap up the water cupped in my beautiful boy's hand. When the water was gone, Billy jumped up to run back to the house and I hid behind a tree. I followed him back to the house to a spigot to which we had shut off the water. Billy opened it all the way up and a small trickle began to creep out. He knelt there, letting the drip slowly fill up his makeshift "cup," as the sun beat down on his little back. And I remembered him playing with the hose and the lecture he had received about the importance of not wasting water. The reason he didn't ask me to help him. It took almost twenty minutes for the drops to fill his hands. When he stood up and began the trek back, I was there in front of him.
His little eyes just filled with tears. "I'm not wasting," was all he said. As he began his walk, I joined him...with a small pot of water from the kitchen. I let him tend to the fawn as I stood on the edge of the woods watching the most beautiful heart I have ever known working so hard to save a life. As the tears that rolled down my face began to hit the ground, other drops...and more drops...and more suddenly joined them. I looked up at the sky. It was as if God, himself, was weeping with pride.
Some will probably say that this was a coincidence, that miracles don't really exist, that it was bound to rain soon. I can't argue with that... I'm not going to try. All I can say is that the rain that came that day saved our farm...just like the actions of one little boy saved another.
Reprinted from Grace Drops, Volume 8 (2010).