Saturday, 10 July 2010
“Father we’ve got Tom home at last …” said the voice at the end of the phone, “we’d be ever so pleased if you could come and meet him some time today … we could also discuss the Baptism arrangements …”
Father Ignatius put the phone back on its cradle and praised the Lord for answering long standing desperate prayers.
The call was from Gerry Hedge. He and his wife had been planning to start a family for many years. They’d been for several medical tests both at the local hospital and at a specialist hospital in London and had seen several consultants and various doctors over the years. They had even traveled abroad for special medical treatment and tests but finally they had to accept that they could not have children.
After the heartache and hurt slowly died down they decided to adopt instead. But even that was an event fraught with many difficulties. The Authorities made them jump through many bureaucratic hoops and checked and double-checked every aspect of their lives, relations and friends. They checked their annual income, future prospects, suitability for adoption, housing standards and so on and so forth for an interminable period of time.
Father Ignatius was asked to act as a character referee for the couple and he was interviewed in no fewer than three separate occasions.
And at last … at long last … they had managed to legally adopt little Tom and they had now brought him home.
Their joy was immeasurable and little Tom would indeed be loved as no child has ever been loved before …
Father Ignatius left his office and rushed to the local shops to buy a little present for the new child in the Hedge’s household.
And that evening he was indeed well pleased and honored to visit the happy couple and be the first to meet their new son and to discuss the forthcoming Baptism arrangements.
As he parked his old car next to the sparkling new top of the range model currently driven by Gerry Hedge, Father Ignatius stopped for a while to admire the view.
He’d been to their mansion in the countryside many times, and had indeed enjoyed their lavish hospitality on several occasions, but surely never had he visited them for such a joyous and happy event as this time.
He walked slowly up the graveled path towards the front door and rang the bell. Moments later the door was opened by Stuart the butler who led him to the main living room.
Lana and Gerry Hedge greeted him warmly as he sat down in his usual armchair.
Little Tom was sitting on the floor facing the TV and listening intently. He was about one year old with light blond hair and the most beautiful face you could imagine.
Father Ignatius leaned a little forward in his armchair and handed Tom a little package containing his present, “Hello Tom … look what I got for you …” he said in his gentle soothing voice.
The little boy did not react whatsoever and continued staring at the TV set.
“He can’t see you Father …” said Lana calmly.
Father Ignatius was taken aback at what he’d just heard and moved backwards in his chair still holding the package and looking at Lana in puzzlement.
“He is blind Father … he’s born blind … something to do with his mother’s addictions …” continued Lana calmly.
“I see …” said the priest, and quickly bit his lip at the inappropriateness of what he’d just said.
“He’s been at the adoption society since he was born … and no one had ever even bothered to consider him …” said Lana.
Gerry Hedge sat in the sofa saying nothing. Lana continued.
“I fell in love with him the moment I saw him …” she said, “even though the staff at the adoption society tried to discourage us … saying that he’ll require a lot of care and attention …”
“We’ll make damn sure he gets all the care and attention he needs …” declared Gerry sitting beside her, “he’ll go short of nothing I assure you Father … we’ll make sure of that … mark my word!”
“I am sure you are right …” said Father Ignatius “and I look forward to having him as one of the Altar servers in due course …”
“Ah … but first we must discuss the Baptism arrangements …” said Gerry standing up, “now what will it be Father … a glass of French Champagne or the best 12 years old single malt whisky to ever leave Scotland?”