The thing is, I'm seeing things. I was standing in our very lovely grocery store the other day, I was alone for once. The music was a pleasant pop culture tune. The lights were perfectly shining on well placed food and items throughout the store. Then I had this moment, where I saw the kids I left behind. They were with me, or I was with them. They were holding my hands, asking to be held, standing close. They were smiling. I was surrounded by such opulence feeling stunned by their poverty, stunned by their joy. Not only the children, but the women who carry heavy loads on their backs everyday. Bent over, trudging through the dirt, the mud, the dust, the rain. The women who will praise God for the strength He gave them for the day to haul food for one dollar, for fifty cents. Their humbling presence stood around me. I felt so silent in that moment. Standing in the store, surrounded by so many beautiful souls. I could barely breath. Their beauty, their suffering left me speechless. It turned the material surrounding me, into a breathtaking reality, and I was real again, for a moment, seeing what truly mattered. Then they left. And I was alone, trying to remember.
Another day we were in the car, Mike was driving. I looked over to the sidewalk. And it happened again. I saw a man. He was missing his lower legs. He was crawling along the sidewalk. Then he was in congo, and I was with him. He was crawling in mud, in dirt, in trash. With a dignity that dares anyone to feel pity for him. I look into his eyes and am told to never forget what I have seen. Never forget how he lives, how the rest of the world lives. Never forget. Never give up fighting for change. For basic dignity, for basic human rights. For love and compassion.
I recently watched a movie. About food. It was depressing and I basically didn't think I could eat anything again after watching it. But in the end of the movie, it reminded us that we can do something simple to change the world. It is in the personal choices we make every day, how we spend our money, what we choose to buy, and how we treat others. We can make a difference.
I often think of the children in the orphanage. They are not far from my thoughts. I struggle when I look at the prices of living in the U.S. When I know that formula for a baby for one month costs $70/month. When I know a salary for someone working in a village may be $40/month. Somedays, I want to forget it all. I want to buy something without thinking about them. I want to forget. But then I remember when I forget, joy flees and discontent comes. When I remember those I left behind, the opposite happens. I remember little faces of joy, and I am given joy. I remember incredible courage and strength, and I am given courage and strength. I remember the harsh reality of life with a broken body in a developing country, and I am granted humility. Most of all, I am given grace, gratitude, and life. And I learn about true and real love. As I make choices everyday in my personal life, as I give, I am also given so much. So, I pray I never forget those left behind, those quietly suffering and living around the world. I pray that I never become so comfortable that I would choose this comfort over a life well lived and given in love to others here and around the world. Especially in a very small area of the world, hidden in the green mountains, where I'm afraid I have left a bit of my heart forever.
walking to the orphanage
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