I don't even remember all their names. There were the Punjabi children, Sukinder, Tindu, and their little brother; the cute Jamaican girl; the Korean siblings, Anne and Alex. They all lived on the same floor in my apartment building. How and when did we meet and build a connection? I cannot even remember.
What I do remember is that we would get together after school or on the weekends sometimes in my apartment or right outside my door. Sometimes my university friends, Solange and Esteban would join us. I would have my guitar and play the 4 songs I knew repeatedly. One song I remember well was God Is So Good. And I had each of us sing to the other in this verse: "God loves (Tindu), God loves (Tindu), God loves (Tindu), He's so good to her..." We would tape ourselves. I still have one tape and when I listened to the children singing, I heard Anne's beautiful child's voice singing, "God loves Sita, God loves Sita, God loves Sita, He's so good to her..." That was more powerful than any other person saying it.
One very special time, we went around in a circle and asked Jesus into our hearts. I don't know if they grasped what they did and I can only pray that this will come back to them whereever they are right now.
(l-r) Tindu, me, Sunkinder
Alex. In fact, Anne and Alex came back to visit once after they moved out and I know they must be successful and thriving right now.
However, I am unsure about Sukinder and Tindu. I accompanied both girls to some parent-teacher meetings because their Mom did not speak English well. Unfortunately, their parents did not deem the education of their girls as important as that of their son. Later on, I would learn that their son developed serious behavioral problems at school and was put into an alternative school. He had some disorders, perhaps ADHD or autism that was not diagnosed early enough or more likely not acknowledged by their parents.
Sue was growing up fast and the western culture clashed badly with the Punjabi culture in her home. Her parents had a poor image of 'Canadian' culture which they saw as wild and promiscuous and were very strict with their daughters. They only allowed them to be with me. How odd, since I was not 'Indian' really in culture but they knew I was a 'church' girl. Sue had unpleasant encounters at school with other girls. She was strong-willed and did not back down. One time she called me to ask if she could tell her folks she was visiting me but she wanted to 'meet' a guy. Naturally, I declined as I told her I would not be used to deceive her parents. I wish now looking back, I could have had more of an influence on her life, but I did not know then what she was experiencing in high school as a member of a 'stigmatized' group as Indians were back then.
Much later, after I had lost contact with them when we had all moved away to different locations, my sister, who worked with group homes, met Sue. She had had problems with the law. That hurt. She said that Tindu had married and had moved to Montreal. My sister did not get the contact info and she never met her again.
In the past couple of months, they have come back to my heart. One, in particular. One whose picture I kept in my purse. In fact, when I first met my husband, Mike, I showed him her picture and said that she was my daughter. He looked stunned but soon smiled when I explained who she actually was. Here she is, my Tindu:
You see, in recent years past, I had come to believe that I had done nothing that counted. In all the sharing of Jesus that I did in the past, I could not think of anyone who was now a solid disciple.
But, more recently God has reminded me that 'results' are His work which I may or may not see. My work is simply to obey. And back then, obedience was so simple. Love came so easy. Those children loved me unconditionally.
I remember one Christmas apologizing to them for not being able to buy them gifts. Sukinder just looked at me and said, "Sita, you spend time with us. That's all we need." Wow. Out of the mouths of babes come wisdom. Thank you, Sukinder, for reminding me what children really want. What each human really wants. What God wants with each of us.
And Tindu, I love you too. Always.
1. God is so good, God is so good, God is so good, God's so good to me. 2. God cares for me, God cares for me, God cares for me, God's so good to me. 3. God loves me so, God loves me so, God loves me so, God's so good to me. 4. God is so good, God is so good, God is so good, God's so good to me.
5. God loves ____, God loves ____,
God loves ____, He's so good to ___.