It is quiet.
Our bags are packed. The bathrooms are cleaned. The last load of washcloths and towels are drying. Our shoes are lined up by the door. In just 7 hours we will leave Orphanage Emmanuel and head home to the states. Our first night here three months ago, I fought a small strain of rising panic but was filled with joy and expectation. I was excited and nervous but ready. I thought I was ready.
Tonight- I am tired. I am so tired. Our boys are asleep in bed. Our little boys whom we have asked so much of over the last few months. Our little girl's body is wracked with fever. She is lying still while this illness courses through her body. Tonight the nurse came to our house to evaluate Elena and while we waited for our daughter's fever to rise or fall we sat at the kitchen table and discussed the special needs population of children in the orphanage, and how best we could help take care of them. Today was discombobulated with impromptu doctor visits and testing and last minute odds and ends.
I had planned on finishing strong. My last week was supposed to filled with important moments and meaningful conversations. I had plans to end this time here with something like a party. We are leaving! We have done it! I wanted to do everything right the last week. Storytime, and bathtime, help with homework, give gifts and have a special goodbye with each girl.
Some part of my pride was insistent that this was the way to finish strong. Instead- beginning last week- it felt more like I was petering out. Schedules changed and I ended up doing dishes more than I spent speaking with the girls. Elena became ill and I spent most of my time with my precious girl. 30 little girl's laundry overwhelmed me. A wonderful new volunteer came to the Little Girl House and instantly I was completely replaceable.
And this quiet fade out slowly crushed my pride, until there was enough room for the truth to overwhelm my heart and remind me of what we believe: we are not here to leave our mark. We are here to love those whom God loves.
The world will try to tell me that I must leave my mark. Do something to say that I was here.
But Jesus just tells me to bear His mark, and acknowledge that He is already here.
The world will try to tell me to be remembered.
Jesus just reminds me that He has always remembered.
Jose' , Jeremiah, Suyappa, my Elena- He remembers.
The world will say more. Do more. Be more.
Jesus says softly: Enough. I am enough.
The world will say love. Love. Love. Love.
But this is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. (1st John 3:16)
Yesterday I hung laundry in the morning light on the lines still damp with dew.Tomorrow I will kiss 30 girls on the top of their heads one more time.
These are my actions and I will tell them the truth:
God loves them.
And it has been a great honor, a high privilege and a perfect joy to have had the blessing of being here to love them too.