When I brought him home five years ago, I was broken too.
His leg had betrayed him, shattering mid-stride when the thrill of the race outpaced his physical capability. His passion had disintegrated into pieces. I, too, scrambled to collect the shards of a dream. Hope for someone I dearly love had collided with her mental illness, and I was fighting not to fall into my own despair.
And so, the two of us eyed one another across the room. I chose him sight unseen, by description – because he is black. I named him before I met him – “Siku”, Swahili for “day”, calling into being that which is not. He represented my last-ditch claim to hope, proclaiming to the murky midnight, “joy will come in the morning.” And he wanted nothing to do with me. If I dared come near, he growled. His orange eyes flared angrily.
With time and persistence, we became inseparable. As the trajectory of my loved one’s mental illness slipped further , I would sit alone as each day dawned, lamenting and pleading for hope. And soon he would come, creeping into the room and snuggling close. He embodied the impossible – as I stroked his silky head, I shouted at the darkness, “Joy will come in the morning!”
Five years later, he sprints through fields, no trace of a broken leg, and then circles back to me. His fiery orange eyes shine. He matches my pace, and my hand rests on his head as we walk side-by-side. I look back and see clearly how God carried me through one of the dimmest passages of my life, stroking that same head, morning by morning.
Both Siku and I are irrevocably broken. But both of us, in time, are shattering into joy beyond our capacity to imagine when our old ways of being in the world were cracking mid-stride.
My faithful friend – when he races for joy, my spirit soars with him.