When the Milk of Human Kindness Fails

A review of  “Ghost Boy”, by Martin Pistorius, with Megan Lloyd Davies, Nelson Books, 2013.

Thank God for Martin’s parents who overcame deep personal despair in living with a child who had suddenly disappeared from sight. They had ostensibly lost all contact; his “ghost image” lay on the bed, unblinking, unmoving, and unable to tell them anything. His mother had two healthy children to care for, and after the first two years, the weight of watching her sick child slowly die finally caused her to crack, and need psychiatric attention after a botched suicide attempt. Martin’s father then became the main caregiver until his wife could fully engage again with their boy.

For untold years they would bathe, dress and feed their boy, once active in athletics, but since age twelve, a helpless, oversized baby. Medical doctors were baffled as test after test failed to give a precise diagnosis. Every kind of medical prescription applied gave a zero percent cure rate. He was finally prescribed as hopeless, and sent home to die, until God stepped in with a Resurrection miracle.

“I think my mind started to awaken at about the age of sixteen, and by nineteen it was fully intact once more: I knew who I was and where I was, and I understood I had been robbed of a real life. That was six years ago…I came to understand that my efforts would never be enough: as I came back to life, no one fully understood… I was completely entombed. The only person who knew there was a boy within the useless shell was God, and I had no idea why I felt his presence so strongly…utterly alone and yet aware that God was my companion.”

God sent him Virna, a massage therapist, who was convinced he understood her words. After learning about a communication technology called AAC through computers she asked, “Do you think you could do something like that, Martin? I’m sure you could.” Her faith in him gave him the courage to try. So, more than thirteen years after he had fallen ill, Martin enrolled in an Alternative Communication Center and learned to read, write, and eventually speak through a computerized voice. In 2006 he was the first of two South-Africans with non-functioning speech to graduate from University. He gave speeches, created websites, and fixed computers after his hidden brilliance was unveiled.

But his grandparents taught him the most important life lesson about love: “If it’s true it will last a life time, and if it’s strong enough, it can be passed from generation to generation.” Martin experienced true love through a woman named Joanna. They met on line, and were married in 2009. The next year he started his own business in the UK. They have since been happily dancing together through life there by God’s grace. Though the milk of human kindness often failed him, God’s Loving kindness restored, released, and raised Martin, as a sign and wonder to many.