Back to the streets

David has run away from Proniño.

I’ve been trying to prepare myself for this day ever since he came to Proniño with me in October.  (Read that story by clicking here and then here…)  He had been on the street for five years.  After that much time, the pull of the ‘freedom’ of the streets as well as the desire for drugs doesn’t just go away.  So, with every week that passed my pride in him would swell just a little more that he was beating the odds.  Simultaneously, with each week that has passed, my dread has grown because I knew that to some degree, his running away was inevitable.

When I was in Proniño in March he wrote me eleven letters.  That’s right.  Eleven.  The letters are so real and full of so much emotion.

…I’m so happy my dad came to visit me…

…I hope that I never use drugs again…

…I have never felt happier…

     …I’m sad that kids are running away.  I hope that they are going back to their families, because if they’re going to the streets, they’ll suffer.  I hope that God gives them a sign to return…

…If it wasn’t for you, my life would be in the trash and I would be lost to the streets…

…Jenny, I hope I never run away because I know I’ll return to the street…

In one of the last, and by far the longest, letter he writes a play by play of the night he decided to come to Proniño.  He talks about playing tic-tac-toe with Ann when she said, “One more game. If you win, you stay on the street.  If I win, you come to Proniño.”  Ann won.  But he said that he decided to stay on the street anyway and I began to cry.  Then he thanks me numerous times for leaving my number with him.  Otherwise he wouldn’t have been able to call when he changed his mind.  And he talks about how happy he is to be in Proniño.  But then he ends with this:

“I’m going to run away and I don’t want you to look for me.  Jenny, I know that you are going to cry when you don’t see me in Proniño.  Please don’t look for me.  I love you very much Jennifer.”

So, here we are.  This smart, socially awkward and conflicted child is back on the street.  Regardless of this request, I will look for him as soon as I return.  And chances are good that I’ll find him because they tend to return to the area and the people that they’re familiar with.  But then what?  I don’t know that I’ve met a child with lower self-esteem than David.  And I think that the fact that he gave in and ran away is going to affirm in his mind that he is a failure that just can’t hack it.  In the short time I’ve known him I’ve learned that this child loves deeply, feels deeply and is so very ashamed when he has hurt someone he cares about.   And he’s going to think that he’s hurt me.  I’m trying to squelch this creeping fear that when he sees me, he’s going to hightail it the other direction.

Please, please pray.  Pray that just like he hoped the kids who had run would get a sign, that he would get his own.  Pray that in the months that he was in Proniño he got enough of a glimpse of who he could be that he’s now unable to close the door on that person.  Pray that he doesn’t flee when he sees me.  Pray that the right words would come to me when I’m with him.  And pray that I would have hope…at this moment I’m feeling more dread than hope…

(Click here to read more about David.)

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