Wednesday, August 29, 2012

For Meta

Through Plan International (the former Foster Parents Plan), since April 2011 I've sponsored a little girl named Meta Balde in Bafata, Guinea-Bissau. I got word today that she died of malaria on May 31, two months before her eighth birthday.

Having learned to admire Plan from my mother, an early FPP adopter in the 1950s, I've sponsored children since 1982. The financial part happens automatically. Once diligent about writing to them, I've let other commitments get in the way. I have Meta's picture but had never gotten around to writing. It was something I always planned to do tomorrow. Today's letter from the always efficient and gracious staff at Plan in Warwick, Rhode Island left me feeling desolate and ashamed. I've written back offering to sponsor another child in the same community. But no one can replace Meta. For her, I'm forever a day late. Sometimes all we can do is give thanks for the opportunity to do better.

Then this 1993 video of Mary Chapin Carpenter's "Lullaby" came over the transom, thanks to the good people at No Depression. One more kiss and you'll be gone, on the way to to dreamland. Also aboard were Emmylou Harris, Rosanne Cash, Denise Williams, Maura O'Connell, Carole King, Kate and Anna McGarrigle, Gloria Estafan, and Dionne Warwick.

Fight malaria in sub-Saharan Africa by supporting Nets for Life.

Give rest, dear God, to your beloved child with your saints, where sorrow and pain are no more, neither sighing, but life everlasting.


Cory Trenda said...

Thanks for this, Fr. John. I'm so sorry. Sponsorship can seem almost benign at nice that I can send a few bucks and have this relationship that the organization handles almost like my spouse or assistant makes me look good when it's someone's birthday. Then a tragedy like this happens, and we realize we are still oceans apart in our understanding of the world and experience of the world. It's absurd that a million little kids die every year of malaria. I'm writing from mosquito heaven in Wisconsin, and NOBODY here will die of malaria. I'm sorry for you, for Meta's family... for the Kingdom that is not yet come.

Fr. John said...

Thanks, Cory. Bless you for your good ministry all around our suffering world.