It always happens this way.
I don't know why I am so doubtful and faithless. I should see it coming every time.
Every time I think the world is evil, that I am surrounded by darkness and wallowing pitifully in a sea of emptiness...a tiny spark shows up.
This time in the form of people's care for the orphaned.
Last week during our Saturday afternoon lunch ritual, Dr. Xu informed me that he would be picking me up at 8am next Saturday so our lunch was off. "Where are we going?" I asked, used to this kind of non-invitation invitation. "We're going to help the babies," he replied. All the response I needed.
Michael is an incredible force of a person (I seem to be surrounded by amazing people). After introducing him to L from the rehabilitation center last Chrstmas, the orphan program has exploded under Chin.ese care - a foreign aid person's dream. I know that I could walk out of this country tomorrow and the orphan program would last beyond me - it does not need me. This is humbling and awesome. I've learned in the past few years that I am not really the person called to DO incredible things, I'm the person called to LINK incredible people. And then cheer them on and go for the ride. Great by me.
Michael picked me up and we drove around town collecting people before congregating at the center. As we were picking up one doctor, Michael said, "He is an ENT doctor. Ears, Nose, Tears." "Um, Michael, isn't it ears, nose, throat?" hahahaha. We didn't let him live that down. SO funny.
We eventually met our group of 15 - 5 doctors, some pharmacists, some family members, and random me. As it was most of the group's first time at the center, they had a formal meeting at the round table. After being made to introduce myself in Ch.inese, I ducked out of the room to hang out with L in the hallway. I'm not really into this formal stuff after 4 years of going there.
While the doctors did their doctor thing, I did my Jessica thing which is - collect children. (Everytime I go there I wish I was more useful and contemplate nursing school. Then I remember that I can't even get my blood pressure taken without freaking out and I dismiss the thought. ha.) Hugs it is.
I love my people. And those baby eyelashes. This little dude in the top left is a dwarf - no other ailment. He really tugged at my heartstrings. Everytime he would go down the slide, he would bang his head because his body preportions are off. He's head-heavy. So he finally retreated to his corner in a fit of tears. Precious baby.
The mundane reasons these kids are abandoned are so sad sometimes. (well, all the time). This is just the way it is in a country with a one-child policy and no social security system. The one kid is required to care for his/her elderly parents. If you get a non-perfect kid...it's gotta go.
Can you find the little downs syndrome boy in the balls in the top left? I was just wandering about and asked the ayi's (worker women) how I could help. They giggled and dragged me outside for a photo session on the roof like they had been scheming it all along and were just waiting for me to approach them. Presh.
Then it was lunch time -for the babies and the big people. The center fed us bamboo shoots, sliced pumpkin (my fave!) and preserved vegetable. Our lunch time convo centered on the english translation for "preserved vegetable" (I had no idea) and me giving people's kids English names. Towards the end of lunch people started handing me their un-eaten bowls because since I am, "so big," I should, "eat more." Bah.
Then I got a lesson in durability. If this little leg-less boy can but his own chair away by hobbling on his knees like it ain't no thang- I can suck it up on many occasions. Humbling. What a little rock-star.
Group photo with the lovies.
And my ultimate lovies, Michael and L. Two of my fave people in the universe and two of my heroes. Two inspiring, relentless, giving people in the face of adversity that I will never fully comprehend. The fact that my favorites are now partners in good is AWESOME. It's like an orphan care power team.
While this photo was being taken I yelled out, "L sandwhich!" No one understood me. Haha.
While compiling the pictures back at home, an old camp song crept into my head. I realized that this was a spark. That there is good in the world, people who are working against odds greater than any I will ever know, and I need to buck it up, scrape myself off the valley floor, and truck on.
We all enter the valley sometimes - hard times, sadness, uncertainty, fear...it's part of the human experience. But we can't stay there forever. There's orphans to care for, people to feed, languages to learn, bridges to build, work to do. Today was just what I needed. I should have known it was coming.
It only takes a spark to get a fire going
and soon all those around can warm up in its glowing
That's how it is with Gawd's love
Once you've experienced it
You want to sing, it's fresh like spring
You want to pass it on
I wish for you my friend, this happiness that I've found
You can depend on Him it matters not where you're bound
I'll shout it from the mountain tops, I want the world to know
the King of Life, has come to me
I want to pass it on.
Experience any sparks lately?
walk slow. xoxo.