One morning during a summer vacation somebody pressed the doorbell, one of our daughters came back to our home. She jumped with joy embracing my neck asking: "When are we going for camping?" The little girl wanted very much to go home to her parents after the long schoolyear.
We took her home 200 km from Déva, but after a few days later she came back because I phoned! “to come back, because we are going camping." How should I tell her that this is not true, that there is no camp of any sort , just you are unwanted at home, and really you were sent back with a white lie .
So here we are at the shore of Csolnakos lake, we are "camping”, so that she should not to be dissappointed again, by the umpteenth time. I am sitting on the shores of the water and watching my team. The water is lapping around them and I am continously counting the heads. All accounted for ! . At the same time they come by my side , they cuddle upto me and telling me their stories ... One of our girls from the fourth class asks me to get a nice marmaid tattooed on my chest "Why?"- I asked. "Because my father had one as well .”- And the words just flow .. "My father was a great father. True enough, he drank lot, and once when he hit me with whip , he knocked one of my eyes out . He did not want to do it . Afterwards my father also cried and in his sorrow he got very drunk. My mother died when I was two years old.She had committed suicide because she spent a lot of time in the company of other men. And my father also beat her as well . But I am not going to be like her….
I am silent , I hold tightly this nice little blonde girl. She is just talking . She tells how many bad people are around, and her dad was egged on by so many men till he drank two litres of vodka as a result of a bet . "My father was so decent that he drank it to the last drop , because a what a man promises , he’s got to do doesn’t he ? My father vomited a lot and died . “
We are silent, the water of the lake is just rippling indifferently. There are so many unspoken words in our lives that we are just unable to put an end to. Another little girl also joins us. . Her nice brown skin , dripping from water is sparkling in the sunlight. She has been with us for three years , she is the second top student of her class. We are chatting. She tells me what it was like when she was begging at a railway station in a big city . She talks very rarely about this. Now she is talkig about it ,like someone else would be talking about a holiday: "There was also a man who gave a whole bread roll. But we had to be very careful about policemen , who often came with dogs and once one of my companions was bitten by the dogs . There was a big rubbish bin , where we hid.." And she is just talking and talking.
I have the feeling that the water, the playing not only dissolves, washes the physical dirt but I also hope that it carries it far away. And then two brothers join us us, they finished the third class. these boys are filled by colossal energy .They sweep away everybody everybody out of their way . They are not bad but around them roughly every ten minutes or so somebody burst into tears , screams. They attract trouble like a lightening conductor attracts the lightening. I tick them off and like two newborn lambs they sit down next to me . If running is forbidden then they start choking me with their hugs. Of course we are chatting away and of course the mother comes into the picture , who is the most wonderful mother unsurpassable by anyone else , but who is very busy.
I very often admire God’s might . Who can make the love of these children so infinitely strong towards their parents .
Because I can only see ,that for the children’s first holy communion ,the mother living just 18 km away with her painted nails and with her figure hugging clothes she would even make a saint’s heart beat faster, she could not join us even though it was all decided and she also promised. Upon the boys request we also started the mass a few minutes later . She did not even join us for the end of the school year celebration , in fact since then she never even came towards us once. I embraced the boys and admitted their mother is really very beautiful , but the trouble is that she has no time to spare .Just to end this discussion I let these two “wild horses “ go free .
We are camping ! Everything around us , is the creation of God, the water lake , the surrounding, the children and everything is so spectacular ! Everything is infinitely good as it is . Often I find it difficult to understand how can a fragile child’s shoulders bear so much tragedy ! But it seems like that is really not what is important ! I do not have to analyse the children, their wounds , but lovingly embrace them and to carry them . To do everything possible since they have drifted into my arms , so that the rest of their lives turn out , form according to the will of God.
One ball hits the mark ,I am the piggy-in the middle and it almost goes unnoticed , I am there in the water of the Csolnakos lake . We are playing , I have been tagged the water is bubbling around me from the children’s lashing about in the water . I know that I do not have to solve the problems , but laugh trying to find that patch of blue sky , no bigger than the palm of the hand , between the children’s arms so that I won’t be piggy-in the middle again . We are playing , my eyes are a beat teary , but here in the water of the lake it won’t be noticed. After all Jesus did not ask us to understand this magnificent world , but asked us to love , become loved there where there is the greatest need for us . It is hard to learn to live together with the seeds of dissension . I throw the ball and of course some divine force sends it again into the arms of the children . Everybody laughs , I blunder again , I was beaten again and once again I am the piggy-in the middle .It seems that now nothing else is important , and this is how it should be .
During my noviciate in the School of Theology I would have never thought that these grubby children would reorganise my life to such an extent .
Perhaps one day I may even get a mermaid tattooed on my chest .
Böjte Csaba OFM
translated to dr k.e.