Celebrating Rebirth with Child Exploitation

Jun 7, 2012 by

I’m not above exploiting the labor of my 18 month old niece. As part of the family, she needs to learn to pull her own weight once in a while.

A friend of mine is on a spiritual retreat in India. His birthday arrived while he’s been away on this temporary trek. I thought we would bake him a cake, take pictures of it and send the pics to him. Then I remembered my pencil skirts are still too snug thanks to all that pasta and gelato I ate in Italy. I knew I’d eat more than my own share of that cake we would photograph. Instead, I went for plan b and employed the services of my adorable niece to create a cake to celebrate.

(As a general rule, I don’t share photos of my nieces and nephews, not even generally on my Facebook profile. But, I do have pics of this little one up as a baby. I guess I feel like they’re less snatch-able when they’re not that mobile. This will probably be the last time you see this little lady.)

This birthday is a big deal because Seun is in remission from two lethal forms of cancer. The New York Times recently covered his effort to recruit more African Americans to the national bone marrow registry and more importantly, the article includes his work in creating the first ever bone marrow registry in Nigeria. You can find the article, “Finding a Match, and a Mission: Helping Blacks Survive Cancer,” here.

Seun and I were friends long before his diagnosis. He was a tremendous person before cancer changed him, but now I’m even more proud of who he has become. As he has faced the uncertainty of his future, he sees the beauty in every day things that others miss. He has a courage about him that I’ve seen in no other person I’ve known. He wants first to make the world a better place for others. He has a reverence for life happenings that others take for granted. He wasn’t able to find a bone marrow match, but did receive a cord blood transplant and is now in full remission. Check out the article. It’s definitely worth your time.

Recently I asked him about  how he was feeling and he said his immune system was only two years old, so he’s still adjusting. This caused me pause. I didn’t realize that receiving the cord blood from a newly born baby meant that he received the age of its immunity, but that is how it works.

His mention of this is what led me to think that at this point celebrating his birthday is fun, but we really should be celebrating his second chance at life.

His rebirth.

It’s a wonderful cause for celebration.

People often say “everything happens for a reason.” I think they mean to imply that everything happens for a purpose and not just because there was a preceding catalyst. I think they mean that God is causing things like this to happen for our own good. My personal general view is that God created a world where people have free will and where the laws of nature unfold in their course. People commit injustices and disease happens, not necessarily because God singled them out for the “trial,” but because it is part of the human experience. We can come to know Him through mortality’s adversity by seeking the comfort Jesus Christ’s Atonement provides, if we are willing to receive it. That’s how God makes tragedy fair in the present and in the end. He provides comfort along the way and provides for a triumphal victory when all is said and done. BUT, I can’t help but think that there is a great purpose in Seun’s redirection in life because he’s tremendously talented and capable, having the ability to bring about a bone marrow registry that would benefit not just Africans, but all the world (check out the video with the article where he explains how the diversity in Nigeria could benefit all the gene pool).   He’s already accomplished a great work and he has so much more to do in his life.

I appreciate people in my life who by their friendship, teach me about God.   That’s Seun for me.

Anyway, back to that child exploitation.

I set up an assembly line to put her to work.

She did it all by herself.

That isn’t true.

Viola! Finished.

Don’t worry, she got a nice long break after she submitted her work product.

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