Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Rainy Season

     Dark clouds loomed over our heads, have been looming overhead for days. It's rainy season, nothing new. The air is thick and humid, often oppressive until the water is released from the sky, leaving a gentle chill in its aftermath.

     But dark clouds do not deter, and we press forward to the people we love.

     We walk through the dirt, the garbage, the "other word" I really want to use because it is the best way to describe the ground beneath my feet. They join us. The find our hands and call out welcomes. They smile and walk beside us, joining a merry caravan of brown and white skin.

      If I look with human eyes, I see nothing but tragedy.

      I walk beside a coffin, the same coffin with the same body there last week, still unmoved because the family will not pay for the burial. The sisters chant in deep and pain filled voices for God to save her soul, not realizing her soul's fate has already been decided. She knew the truth, this we are certain. What she did with that truth, I don't know. But I hug the smiling face of her daughter, and we continue to walk.

     I see the baby girl with hydrocephalus, the one who still has not been to the doctor. The one who, unless there is a miracle, will die.

    I look at the little girl too afraid to get close, and I beckon her to come, but she won't. She is afraid.

    My heart reflects to my other country, the pain of a night with friends and family gone terribly wrong. A community shaken, a country rocked, and we think and ask God why.

    And I look around and see the disease, the neglect, the poverty, the pain, and ask God why. Where is He? How is this fair?

     Then I look inside, my own garbage coating my heart from the numerous falls and failures. And I look into His gentle eyes as He offers to cleanse, and I shake my head "No". Because the dirt is comfortable, and I have to admit my failures to be washed. I am too good for this grace. Send it to someone who will wear it well, because I can do nothing but soil it over and over.

     We make our way into a small home with a man stretched on a bed, death at the door, darkness within. And we pray. Life is spoken, grace offered and received. Family and friends watch as another candle in a dark world is lit and begins to burn.

      We leave the little home, adding more. Little hands are holding mine. Two little girls, not letting go.

       The clouds are darker and the rain is coming. We must hurry, but we must stop and watch.

       This man should have died a year ago, but he is healed.

       This woman should have died, but she is healed. She has a baby, a miracle child. life coming where death should have won.

       This baby, my sweet baby, healing. United with the family who loves her, she is a completely different child.

        And He is here. He reveals himself when I look through His eyes.

        We make our way back to the basketball court where the little ones have gathered. The rain begins to fall... little droplets, and they crowd under umbrellas.

         The rain falls harder, and my body is wet. Soaked, in a cold shower.

         And they sing...

         Their voices drowning the sound of wind and rain. They cry out, little hearts understanding truth and dancing to the beat. The water falls steadily, cleansing, washing away the dirt from our bodies.

         And we play in the rain.

         In this culture, it is believed that being out in the rain will make you seriously ill. They don't play in the rain.

         But they did. They splashed and ran and jumped and laughed.

         Dry bones absorbing the moisture and coming to life. The beauty of sweet freedom, of joy.

         I think He watched in that moment, splashing and singing beside us, rejoicing in the healing He brings.

         And I, the girl who spent the first 22 years of life under blankets and hidden from the storms, open my arms wide, and I embrace the little girl who came running toward me... the little girl I had been looking for all day.

         There is a reason rain comes more than once, to continually cleanse. And grace comes hourly, by the moment as times, to constantly pour healing.

          So I open my hands and allow the cleansing to begin.

          And I rejoice... for the time of cleansing is coming, and these dry bones will walk.

          Rain is a season... a season to welcome life.

          And all things are made new.

         The rain stopped when we left, and I can't help but think there was a purpose to the timing. There is something coming for these people. I believe it.

         And after the rain will come the harvest.


Monday, July 16, 2012

And One Day They Will Be Queens

     It began with a hand, her little hand grabbing mine. They were walking in the opposite direction when they saw us, she and her little sister, another little friend and his brother.

     She saw and she grabbed my hand, and they joined our little band of merry women as we walked the paths they take every day. And she didn't let go... except when I let go to hug the grandmother I haven't seen in a long time, the baby with the swollen head full of water, the little girl I have been looking for and finally found.

     But she waited, patiently, for me to return. And she grabbed my hand again and didn't let go.

     The hand soon turned into an arm around my waist, and then two. And the little arms became a hug, and she opened them to welcome others.

     But she didn't leave my side, and to be honest, I didn't want to leave hers.

     From hand to hug to shared giggle to hearts that mutually speak please don't let me go.

     And I saw her... another little girl. A familiar face I have a picture of from two years ago. I don't know if she remembers me, but I have carried that face in my heart. I met the little sisters she leads by the hand. An unsure and uncomfortable hug goodbye. I have missed her, and now there is a name to attach to the face.

     Still this other one. One little girl I have known for years. She will call my name and say "Hello", but she won't come near. Her smiles hold a world of secrets and I wonder what her life is like when all is silent and we are gone.

      The dreams I have for the little girls in this area, really, they are because of her.

       And there are still more... big sisters with the weight of the world on their shoulders, the hugs I won't dare let go before they do. And we smile and whisper blessings and prayers because they have value.

        Their world says they have nothing, but He sees them and they are valuable and precious and cherished.

         Sweet little princesses, your King delights in you. How do I help you know?