Barnabas: Son of Encouragement
It was late at night. Aizawl had no taxis those days. So I rushed to Rex’s place. He took us to Durtlang Hospital and my wife was admitted there. Older son was safely put away in a relative’s house. Morning I rushed back to the hospital and he was already there. I had longed for a daughter. So we had two names ready: Christina and Barnabas. So it was Barnabas, meaning son of encouragement. Frail and fair.
After a week the mother and son were discharged. On the way he seemed to have slight temperature. But we thought it was just a feeling. Back home we were happily together for a day. [Two year old elder son had left his feeding bottle for his brother. He never went back to it again.] We called him Barnymon.
By next evening Barnymon’s fever seemed to have slight breathing problem. I rushed to the medical store. They said it would be better to take him to the doctor. Another night ride with Rex to Durtlang. That night and the next day went on without much of improvement. By evening he was put in a humidifier as his breathing was difficult. We were both with him in the coupe. It must have been well past midnight when the storm came. We could hear the swishing of the wind outside. We were praying desperately for the baby. It was getting colder. It went on for a while. Early dawn we felt something was seriously wrong with Barnymon. By then the storm subsided as if to mark the end of a cosmic fight. Nurse said it was over.
I walked to Chaltlang to our uncle’s place. Kids were on the road with palm leaves shouting Hosanna. It was Palm Sunday. How many of them lived to enjoy what Barnymon enjoyed that day? I do not know. But sure he was with the Lord where there is no sorrow or heartache, no booze or ganja and tobacco smoke.
That afternoon he was buried at Mission Veng Thlanmual. At the funeral Uncle Sunderaraj read this verse: “I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me.”
He is alive in the land of the living. One day my wife and I also will join him. He is out there, encouraging us to go on till we meet there. I can almost hear him singing this old song:
“I’ll be waiting on the far side bank of Jordan
I’ll be singing, drawing pictures on the sand
And when I see you coming, I’ll rise up with a shout
And come running through the shallow waters, reaching for your hand.”