Activated - - NEWS - By Eve­lyn Sichrovsky

I stirred at the now-fa­mil­iar sound of a baby cry­ing plain­tively. Be­hind the par­ti­tion­ing cur­tain, I could hear his mother’s de­spon­dent, weary voice try­ing to soothe him. I was fif­teen, and I was in the chil­dren’s ward of the hos­pi­tal af­ter hav­ing un­der­gone a ton­sil­lec­tomy the day be­fore. Con­trary to ex­pec­ta­tions, there had been some com­pli­ca­tions, and now the pain in my throat and ears made it im­pos­si­ble for me to sleep deeply. I pressed the ice pack more tightly to my throat and face while I watched this ex­hausted, care­worn mother pac­ing the nar­row aisle as she rocked her tiny, weep­ing son.

His piti­ful cries were some­what muf­fled by the ban­dage above his mouth. The day be­fore, I had over­heard his mother dis­cussing with a nurse how her son had been born with­out an up­per lip. At only four months old, this was al­ready his third surgery. He would need to un­dergo at least three more surg­eries be­fore his first birth­day, with each surgery build­ing upon the pre­vi­ous one to grad­u­ally form an up­per lip.

My mind went back to vis­it­ing hours the evening be­fore, when his fa­ther had come. He ap­peared to be a con­struc­tion worker and had ob­vi­ously come straight from work. I watched as he lov­ingly cra­dled his son and fed him by pour­ing a lit­tle milk into his mouth and then very gen­tly shak­ing his head to help him swal­low it. With­out an up­per lip, his son couldn’t nurse or drink from a bot­tle like other ba­bies.

I was brought back to the present as a nurse came in for her rounds. I reached for the fresh ice pack she of­fered and watched her bend over the baby to change his ban­dage. Later, as his cries sub­sided and he drifted into a rest­less sleep, she turned to go. But then she paused. “It must be very dif­fi­cult,” she said softly, touch­ing his mother’s arm. “Oh yes,” came the re­ply, in a voice full of pain. Look­ing away, her voice

broke as she went on. “I of­ten ask my­self why … why I brought him into the world like this!”

As the nurse’s foot­steps faded down the hall, the mother’s words echoed in my ears. I thought about how much God must want her to know that He loves, cares, and never con­demns; that He is near and un­der­stands. I couldn’t shake the long­ing to tell her. But what could I say? How could I say any­thing at all? My voice had been tem­po­rar­ily re­duced to a raspy whis­per, and speak­ing would be very painful. But as I turned the idea over in my mind, a lit­tle cho­rus I’d learned as a child sud­denly re­turned to me: Je­sus bids us shine with a clear, pure light, Like a lit­tle can­dle burn­ing in the night; In this world of dark­ness, we must shine, You in your small cor­ner, and I in mine.

1 This is my cor­ner now, I thought, look­ing around the dimly lit room. Still un­sure of what I would say and how I’d say it, I put down my ice pack and slipped out of bed. Soon we were talk­ing. My voice was scratchy, my words were sim­ple and a bit clumsy, and my face flushed with my usual shy­ness. But as we con­versed, the pain and de­spair in her eyes grad­u­ally gave way to peace and faith. When we prayed to­gether, I re­al­ized with awe that God had used me, His lit­tle can­dle, to bring His light to a hurt­ing heart.

Eve­lyn Sichrovsky is a con­tent cre­ator for chil­dren’s English ed­u­ca­tional books and ma­te­ri­als. She lives in south­ern Tai­wan.

Many years have passed, but I of­ten think back on that ex­pe­ri­ence. Each of us has a lit­tle cor­ner—a fam­ily, a work­place, a school, a neigh­bor­hood. It’s so easy to feel small and to doubt that we can make a dif­fer­ence. But lit­tle is much if God is in it. And God is in­deed in each of us. We are His

2 can­dles, each set in a cor­ner of this dark world to shine uniquely for Him. I pray that I will be faith­ful to light up my cor­ner, when­ever and how­ever I can.

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