I spent just over two months of my life in a land far away from the place I call home. Where the mountains were covered not in pine but in lush green and red dirt. I traveled roads where the major highways were filled with potholes as big as the cramped taxi I sat in. I’ve shopped in the Grand Marche and bartered over goods and wears. And I’ve seen the face of poverty and the jaded hunger of poverty.
I was changed.
There are so many memories that I think oh yes, that’s the one. The one that changed me. But then I realize that they all changed me, a cumulative quilt of experience and brokenness and adventure stitched together in this fabric of my life.
I remember one day walking through the crowded market and a small boy, his skin olive and his eyes brown, asked me for money. His clothes were tattered and dirty. His feet were bare. My French was rudimentary, but I understood his plea and in return I asked where his mamma was. He told me he didn’t have one.
No mamma. This boy on the streets. He couldn’t have been more than six.
I reached for my purse but my friend grabbed my arm and pulled me away, giving me a silent No with her eyes. She told me later that he was likely lying to me, that his mother was probably waiting down the road somewhere for him, having sent him out with the purpose to beg for money. To take advantage of the heart of some silly tourist/missionary not used to the harshness of this land and the lives of it’s people.
Was she right? Probably. I’ll never know for sure. But even so, this memory has stuck with me. It’s clung tight to my heart through
this boy and his deep brown eyes. And I want to go back.
Ever since I returned from Togo I have wanted to go back. To expand my personal mission work. To hold babies who have no mother and to comfort the children who have lost their families. I want to work in an orphanage, spending long days and longer nights fighting for the rights of babes and children who have no one else who will.
It’s why I went to graduate school, really. Yes, I wanted to teach but I chose public health to learn more about how to work in impoverished areas. It’s what I wrote my application essay on-the hope to one day return.
Today I read this offering from She Loves Magazine and my heart was full with the longing and my eyes overflowing with the remembrance of the dream that seems so far away now, in this moment of baseball sign ups and wiping down the highchair. And I pray that one day this dream will come to fruition.
My hubby is worried that one day I’ll go. Not for selfish reasons, but because he thinks I’ll either a) not come back or b) bring all the kiddos home with me. Which deep down I don’t think he’d mind at all, option b that is.
But I also know that sometimes these dreams don’t come true. That sometimes there are other plans for our futures that we know nothing of. Right now that plan includes 4 little beasties and a job teaching future nurses. My hope is that in this little life I can at least do a small trip, or ten, to help in places that need it most. It’s a hard thing, this balancing our wants and needs and the desires of our heart. To know that there is a need out there that needs met and you want so desperately to see that need abolished.
Yet there is a mission field here, right here in this kitchen with sticky floors and crumbs on the counter. Right here with the little girl with olive skin and brown eyes and the young lady with eyes the color of the sea and hair that changes based on her mood. Right here with the little boy whose eyes are sometimes haunted and the one who likes to body slam all who dare to lay on the floor. And with the man, the one who has held my hand for the better part of my life. The one who is my best friend and my love. And this, this mission field is my calling to and it changes me daily.