is it enough?

Written by Sandra Heska King

PRAY EDITOR "Once a nurse, always a nurse," they say. But now I spend my days with laptop and camera in tow as I look for the extraordinary in the ordinary. I'm a Michigan gal, mom to two, grandmom to two, and wife to one. My husband and I live on 50 acres in the same 150-plus-year-old farmhouse he grew up in. I love this quote by Mary Oliver, "Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it." That's how I want to live. And I'm still learning how to be. Still.

December 18, 2012


Sophonie, she scratches words on peach-colored concrete with a sliver of yellow chalk.

She points to them and then to herself. “God. Me. Father. Mother.”

I brim and pull her close. “Yes. God. He’s your father and your mother.”

And He’s enough.

Jeffrey’s fifteen, he says. He speaks English. I ask how long he’s been here at the orphanage. “Two years,” he answers. He carries a Creole-English dictionary.

He and Sophonie speak to each other. “She doesn’t understand you,” he says.

“I know,” I sigh. “We teach each other.”

I want to know his story. But I’m afraid to ask. Afraid to dredge up memories. Afraid I’ll cry.

I point to a young boy who sits on the bench. A tear pools in the corner of his right eye and trails. He holds his cheek. I bend down, cup his face. “What’s wrong?”

I look up at Jeffrey. They exchange words in Creole. His tooth aches.

I open my mouth, and point to him. I peek in to see what looks like a big cavity in a back molar.

Rele? What’s your name?”

I don’t understand his words.

“Fafa,” repeats Jeffrey. “F-a-n-f-a-n.”

The “n” is silent.

“Ask him how old he is.”

Fanfan shrugs and shakes his head. Either he won’t tell or he doesn’t know.

“Wait. Stay. Rete.” I go in search of some children’s acetaminophen. I bring back two tablets and tell him to chew. What else can I do?

For a few moments, he stretches out, belly down, on the ledge. I worry that he’ll fall. And then he’s gone.

We sit on the church steps. Ivelor has found a dirty wipe and tears it into small strips to share. I smile big and raise a finger. “One minute.”

I reach into my bag and pull out a packet of Wet Ones®. They’re so excited. They wipe their faces, hands, legs, feet.

It’s one small thing in this one small moment.

“Sing. Sandy sing.”

So I sing Jesus Loves Me. And Jesus Loves the Little Children. And Amazing Grace.

As they catch the tune, they respond in Creole. And they are an angel choir. Their voices flow down this Haitian hill, over the chickens, past the infirmary, and out to sea.

from the church

Later I ask Sophonie where Fanfan is.

She presses her hands together, lays her cheek against them. “Sleep. Fanfan sleep.”

For a few moments he rests, free from pain. But is it enough?

“Sandy, I love you so much.”

“I love you, too, Sophonie. So much.”

This we understand.

My heart aches. But to be present it this moment, it is enough.

And God’s her father and her mother and her everything.

It is enough.

He is enough.




  1. Sandra Sims

    Thank you for sharing!

    • Sandra Heska King

      Thanks for coming by, Sandra. This was my first time out of country, let alone immersing myself in another culture like this. Lifechanging!

  2. pastordt

    What an experience you’ve had. Rest up a bit, friend, and then let it pour out whatever way it comes. This is a lovely, lovely start. Thank you.

    • Sandra Heska King

      Thank you, my friend. I have the blahs today. Not sick, just blah. Reentry syndrome maybe?

      • pastordt

        Exhaustion on every level, I’m guessing. Too much at once can simply overwhelm all systems and trips like this are exactly that – too much at once. But there is no other way to do it. . .so rest, cogitate, pray, love your family and relax into home . . . without guilt.

  3. DeanneMoore

    Prayed for you several times last week. My seventeen year old son may have passed you in an airport. He went down on Saturday. Enough…to release the great need to God and know it is enough, He is enough. Lord, I believe, help my unbelief.

    • Sandra Heska King

      I know those prayers were holding me, Deanne. That first day–I wanted to come home. That last day–I wanted to stay. But He is enough, yes. Here. And there.

      Lifting a prayer for your son.

  4. cherylsmith

    Full and empty, simultaneously. That’s how I feel when I read your words. How you must be feeling too.

    But God…is…

  5. Laura Boggess

    Oh, everything said and all that is unsaid hangs heavy in the air here. What a blessing you must have been to those children. What a blessing you are to us.

    • Sandra Heska King

      Oh, what a blessing those children were to me. I’m seeing now through new lenses.

  6. dukeslee

    I prayed for you so often, and I knew you’d be a blessing. You were. You ARE. And, also, you were blessed. Isn’t it amazing? How the Haitians are missionaries to us, the Americans? Who are the richest ones in this equation? Love you so…

  7. Nancy Franson

    I’ve sort of been boycotting social media for the past week–so much sadness, so much debate, so much inadequacy at finding words to make it any better.

    But this is the question, isn’t it? “Is God enough?” Looking forward to reading more. Praying for your re-entry, dear friend.

    • Sandra Heska King

      We got the news Friday while still in Haiti, and someone mentioned how much safer we were, it seemed, there than at home. There are no words. There is only the Word.

  8. smoothstones

    Lovely. I’m so glad for your experiences in Haiti.

  9. Duane Scott

    Smiling here… 🙂 Love this.


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is it enough?

by Sandra Heska King time to read: 2 min