Tomorrow will be different. When we go to the families apartment, Rovar won’t be there to run up and hug us, nor his cute little voice telling us to sit down next to him. Rovar and his mum have grown into all of our hearts and become a part of our family. While the many hours at the hospital bonded us together, so too did their natural warmth.
After his farewell party, last Thursday evening, some of us volunteers stayed behind to hang out with the families. Shortly after one of the parents put on Kurdish music, Rovar asked to play his favorite Korean pop band. Then he did all the dance moves of the music video while singing the lyrics. This is the sweet boy we will miss. Always unabashedly himself, full of love, spunk, and courage facing so many blood transfusions and needles, which may be every five year old’s worst nightmare, but it never dimmed Rovar’s light.
While we shared memories, feelings, and words of encouragement at the goodbye party, Rovar’s mother said she talked to Jonathan about coming through Shevet for surgery after she had lost hope; surgery for Rovar, which she applied for in Europe, had failed. As with all the kids that come through Shevet, the possibility of that child not receiving medical care is soul-crushingly sad. What would our lives have been without Rovar’s hugs, playfulness, or sense of humor? Not to mention hearing him say “hello, choni?” nearly everyday, which brightened all our days. Our lives are enriched for knowing Rovar and his mum. And because of the treatment he got here, many more people will come to know and love him just as we have. But first and foremost, may he come to know the One for whom he was created.
Rovar’s life has a beautiful purpose. As we said goodbye tonight, it was bittersweet. Hugs and kisses were exchanged, and the embraces said what words failed to, that you gratefully share an inexpressible, deep bond because you walked through these circumstances together.
I think back to the nine or ten-hour days in the hospital with Rovar and his mum, when much of what to be done felt overwhelming, yet I can’t help but think of 1 Corinthians 13:
“If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate.
If I speak God’s Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, “Jump,” and it jumps, but I don’t love, I’m nothing.
If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.
Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.
Love never dies.”
I pray Rovar himself and his mother, felt God’s love in the waiting area in front of the doctors office, in the laughter at the Shevet house, and in the embraces which convey what words cannot.