"Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to let you in."

-- Robert Frost

Thursday, November 21, 2013

where written words inadequately fail

Jet lag kicking in, I found my eyes open and staring at the ceiling in the dark of the early morning hours. No need to disturb the sleeping man beside me. And no need to lay staring off into the darkness.

I gathered a book, a blanket and light chair and moved to the hall outside. The corner by the window seemed inviting as the rain pattered lightly against it's darkened glass.

For awhile, my eyes digested the page before me but as the dark turned to grey and the rain splattered glass cleared, my attentions were drawn to the happenings below.

Repairs were made to leaky roof tops as the sun peeked one sleepy eye. A man drug a bucket to an alley and attempted a discrete sponge bath.

One tossed a discard bin of scraps out the back, topping the already mounded heaps, then leaning against the door jam, sipped from his cup, casually observing a mother sow and piglets snuffling through the refuse.

A herd of women lined children in a row, strictly instructing the morning washing of the day's colorful collection of cookware pots.

Women gathered at a well, vigorously pumping, neighborly assisting, carefully carrying water laden jugs to and fro for their uses.

The previous days had shown us much and left us more than our hearts could hold.

I closed my book, returned my chair and re-entered preparing to meet this new day.

I sat on the edge of the bathroom tub .. why me? What makes any one more than another? That I might turn a handle and feel hot water on my back and those below would bend their backs to carry theirs?

And yet, the happy oblivion of mothers and children, morning tasks, and the common day help to a neighbor in need  ....

My emotions uncontainable. 

By nightfall and another day's end, we sat together and the silence was palpable.

The day had held more beggarly approach than usual. We'd stepped from our curbside car and on return, found ourselves surrounded by pleading eyes. A reach for pocket change relief resulted in more onslaught and the demand brought our retreat.

I sat in the car trying not to look beyond the windows.

I turned to my daughter whose emotions spilled over. It's not supposed to be like this. Too hard. 

And so we sat together as the evening waned, feeling the heaviness between us all.

The next day's journeying had us up in the darkness and beyond the city bustle well before the crowds. The countryside, though slow going, brought a peace as we traveled.

We fell in love with casual observances of ingenuity.

Helped along by uncommon sights dwelling in the wild.

Our travels brought us to new friends eager to share their outreach program for those effected by leprosy. More than we expected, we were immediately put to use.

I cannot describe their beauty. Sent to live in a colony far away from villages. Their warm smiles and excitement at our arrival. Their open arms and huge hearts.

Our tasks were assigned and we gave them our best.

Though language barred us from deep communications, we lightly conversed with interpretations help.

But body language spoke greater volumes.

Concerned for the comfort of another, I pushed away my upturned bucket and knelt lower in the dirt.

I cannot fully express the widening of understanding as the best I thought I could give became the most precious gift I'd ever be given.

I felt beside me, a Heavenly Brother, kneeling in the dirt washing the feet of others, healing those with wounds, caring so deeply. This woman with wounds held in my hands would be whole again by the wounds in His. But did I not have wounds of my own ... those of Inadequacy? Indifference? Shortcoming?

I was her. And she was me. And together we both would travel this world hoping to better ourselves to be worthily healed by Him.

But only if we could lift each other for what is one without the other.

This is Saroja, we were told. She loves music. Will you sing to her?

Of what will we sing?

And the words of the only song we ever hear a four year old voice tinkle in our home, sprang to mind.

So we sang.

Heavenly Father, Are you really there?
And do you hear and answer every child's prayer?
Some say that Heaven is far away.
But I feel it close around me as I pray.

Heavenly Father, I remember now!
Something that Jesus taught disciples long ago.
Suffer the children to come to Me.
Father, I'm coming now in prayer to thee.

Pray, He is there. 
Speak, He is listening.
You are His child.
His love will surround you.

He hears your prayers.
He loves the children.
Of such is the Kingdom.
The Kingdom of Heaven.

And she kissed the palm of her hand and held it to my cheek.

And I kissed the palm of mine and held it to hers.

And the tears in the eyes of my children were different.

For she, along with her friends who were together dearer than a family, had done more to lift our souls from the dirt, than any small comfort we could have ever been.

And I'd seen the immense picture of a loving Father's plan for His children, unfold.

That hard things would refine us.

Make us beautiful. 

Give us a desire to build on that light.

To try a little harder, to in every way be better.

And our brotherly Savior really would reach out His hand and pull us that extra length when we didn't quite measure up. 

I'd heard it time and again.

Believed it. Hoped it. Felt it.

Only this time ... I'd been shown it.

And I wanted to remember each and every beloved face.

Because going forward being our best selves, together we'd be His family.


  1. Wow!! Fantastic photos! Fantastic words!

  2. It does seem like it would all quickly become overwhelming...

  3. Sigh....no adequate words. We are so blessed and we always forget, don't we???