Tuesday, August 18, 2009

thinkin' malawi like thoughts

I brewed a pot of coffee this morning with the intention of some quiet time to write. I spotted my old journals on the bookshelf and thought I would break them open and read into my old self, thoughts born on the other side of the world.

I quickly became absorbed into my own words deeply missing Malawi, the people and the strength of my faith during that time. I wrote constantly when I was in Malawi. I had my journal with me everywhere. I didn’t want a single experience or thought to be lost along the way. Now, I am seeing why I wrote so fervently. I was writing it for myself, for myself while I was there, the self that would read it a few months later, a couple years later, and my self now. I am encouraged in reading my thoughts and reflections from years ago with a million moments filling the space between.

Here are a few entries that touched me today.

“One little girl at the farm is sick, she would fast for days and pray to be healed. Marla told us about this girl and how she wouldn’t eat for days, and at mealtime they would look for her and find her in her room. She would be on her knees praying for God to heal her and make her well. Everyone wanted so bad just to sit her down and tell her she needs to eat, and be nourished, especially with the anti-retrovirals which need nutrients to be absorbed and effective. But they were torn at the same time, wondering who were they to think that God wouldn’t honor her fasting and her prayers for healing, to give her the nutrients her body needs. We often look for our prayers to be answered in the way we want to see them answered and here that is often the physical healing from sickness and hunger. What God did heal is this little girl’s spirit. She is so young but she has experienced a healing of her spirit far greater than any of us will ever know. She has a peace and a joy from the Lord that far surpasses anything we will ever know or will ever understand.”

“I feel so invested already and that desire to walk alongside them to watch them grow into the men and women God created them to be. That connection begins in such a short time. It’s crazy, because I imagine myself here long-term and it doesn’t sound so crazy. People are what get me. I just want to be near them for the rest of my life. I wonder about all my friends and family back home. It kills me that I have no idea how anyone is doing right now. God is constantly teaching me how to let people into my life and how to let people go, to let people go on their way…life just keeps going. I always think back on that book. The Five People You Meet in Heaven and how at the end of this guys’ life he meets five people who influenced or played a huge role in his life and he in theirs. It was just so interesting to think about the people we’ve touched or affected without even knowing it. People that have had to leave our lives for us to be the people we are today. I wouldn’t be who I am today if my dad didn’t leave when I was little. Who even knows what that would look like if he didn’t. God uses those that leave and those who stay to strengthen us and shape us for the better. He didn’t bring those situations upon us but because they happened, he uses them for good…”

“We never know who we are affecting and influencing in the moment. We are coloring the people we connect with. When the team was discouraged about being here and wondering why we were here if the Children of the Nations kids are already being well cared for now. Kara had a good point, she grew up in a family that cared greatly for her. If people looked in and saw that she had a family that loves her and therefore decided not to pour into her, she would not be the person she is today. We are who we are because of those who have spent time with us and poured into us. This is why we can’t love enough on these kids. Sure, many of the COTN kids are in homes and being cared for (because of COTN) and going to school. They are doing well because of the hundreds of people who have cared for them and taken time to love on them, to tell them bedtime stories, to play futbol with them, help them with school, tickle them, hug them. Every little act of love is part of a much grander story. We are a part of a much grander story. Sure, my heart craves the adventure of bringing food to the starving child, the saving a child from sure death, stopping the arm that abused a child, but that is exactly where these kids came from. You can see the traces of their past in the burn marks on there faces, in the scars on their bodies, in the way they avert their eyes, the way they are afraid to raise their voices. These are the kids and just because they aren’t in the thick of it right now doesn’t mean they don’t struggle with the effects of their past still in this day. We should never choose not to love a child or anyone for that matter, because everyone is fighting a battle and we have the opportunity to pour into and shape the lives we interact with every day. Love wastefully.”

1 comment:

Derek Gillette said...

You know, we don't have to justify anything to anyone anymore.

You love who you choose to love. and you write what you choose to write.

You dont write what you think will be easy for someone else to read, you write for yourself to say the things that you know need to be said.

You love the people who are in front of you and do that the best you can do.

Then at the end of each stage of this race, you look behind and see the ones who started with you and have fallen away to another path or race or to fatigue, and then you look to each side and see the ones who are still running with you. And then you stop and put your arms around them and tell them how much you appreciate them!