There are many stories I want to tell ... but for now, I will start with this blog I wrote last December:
Tonight I was reminded of a day that came a few months ago. It was a particularly difficult time of year. The kids were busy with school, trying their boundaries at every turn, there were changes to be made in employees, and uncertainty all around.
It was in the midst of that chaotic time when I felt the most frantic, that a revelation gently impressed my heart. That morning I spent like most others, grasping for a little time with the Lord, trying to make myself presentable, get my twenty two (there are presently 24 kids residing in the orphanage) kids up and bathed and ready for school-teeth brushed, uniforms on correctly, fingernails cleaned, breakfast and devotions all before the beep of the cab and the familiar hum of 'Ruby the Rhino. "
The morning continued to that step, the cab and Ruby came bearing my inaugural class of the "Mercy and
" with all their energy and enthusiasm. We rushed through our greetings and table time, we fumbled through our morning meeting, struggled to form a line, and finally made it outside. With the guilt of a world first teacher, I drank my coffee while watching my students play on the playground (recently donated by the Home Depot and put up by sweet friends, Wendy, Scott, and Jenna). Grace
The morning of corralling my little preschoolers moved on as we went inside for snack. Washing hands without running water, having wait times much longer than the three minutes allotted in my early childhood training, kids touching the ground after hand washing, and many other little things racing through my mind as I tried to coordinate bathrooming, handwashing, book reading, and snack preparation.
After giving commands over my shoulder in a language I hardly know to kids who barely understand it anyway-my revelation came. I was spreading peanut butter on about my eleventh piece of bread, when, like the coming of rain across a field , it came-I am living my dream.
I resisted at first, "No, my dream is a little neater than this," I thought. But how do you argue with the rain? I was reminded of how as a young person, I liked to like to watch all the TV shows featuring families with multiples. I remembered how the moms had made many sandwiches, just like I was doing.
I started pouring Tang into my colorful plastic cups I remembered how excited I was when my cousin bought me those plastic cups, when life in
was still an unknown. I smiled. Honduras
I looked at my little girl who came for a sneak peak at the snack of the day, her hairbows a little askew. I was reminded of how excited I was to start a hairbow collection for her.
I looked around my classroom, which is also my living room, and remembered childhood days filled with hours of setting up Barbie houses, playing school with my friends, and later, setting up my classrooms in the states-all building blocks of my dream.
I had not exactly forgotten that moment, one does not forget such, but tonight that gentle rain poured once again.
I was so tempted to be annoyed. Annoyed with the way it took more than an hour for a cab to retrieve me. Annoyed that I had to leave my kids when we were supposed to be having 'Homeschool for the Holidays.' Annoyed because I had to go to physical therapy because I hurt my knee-again. Annoyed that I walked all the way from the hospital to the bank when I did not need to-and on and on.
When I got home, I was disappointed that was three o'clock and I'd missed the whole day. I saw a group of boys off playing marbles my- like it was not even raining and they did not have colds. I walked in the house and noticed posters and half down the Christmas garland hung haphazardly on my chalkboard instead of evenly on the curtain rod like I put it this morning. The frustrations continued.
I fed my cat and sat on the bed. I was tempted to let my disappointment and frustrations turn into a rant. But, as the rain pounded the tin roof, that familiar revelation swelled in my heart-This is my dream.
"Neater," I chuckled, but was quickened that God wanted to speak to my heart. I resolved to see the dream.
A few of kids asked they could play with the preschool toys. I looked around at how everything was mixed up, resisted the urges to scold them for not having taken care of things already, said 'yes,' and enjoyed their squeals of delight.
Their play developed. I heard them singing songs from our Bible class (VBS Curriculum donated by a sweet friend). I watched them sit their 'family' down at the table and sing a prayer. My heart swelled.
I listened as they explained their play. (I was reminded and thankful for people like Sylvia Gilliam and Diane and Mike Bindewald who spent so much time listening to my play when I was little.) They were pretending to have Christmas. They decided who was the child who was the 'madrina'-the word for godmother and how they view their sponsors. They made gifts and cards for each other. I held back tears.
I sat outside. I was grateful for the cool breeze that came with the rain. I gave little Roger, who just lost his mom last month, some clothes I'd found for cheap in town. I was thankful for old navy clothes for a dollar twenty five.
I was more grateful for the sweet smile on this boy's face as he tried them on. But words can not describe the feeling in my heart when he put his chubby little cheek against mine and whispered, "Mama Linda."
I ate some noodles a friend sent from the states. I was grateful for its warmth. I was more grateful for how Roger threw his head back in a smile when he finished the last sip for me.
I was touched when I watched Soraya meet her mom at the gate. I was blessed when her mom, Kiadura, gave me sugar that probably cost a good portion of her day's earnings. I enjoyed her laugh and smile as we sign [she is hard of hearing] to each other how we could drink sweet coffee.
I enjoyed the comfort of that cup of coffee with my friend, Linda. I was grateful she'd accompanied me to the hospital that day. I was grateful for how she laughed and made me laugh. And how she even bought a coke for the lady so I would get seen faster. I was grateful for her friendship.
As I went in my room to get a pillowcase dress for our neighbor's baby who got wet in the rain, I was grateful for my friends who've made and sent them (Lissa Lee and Lisa Gould.) And I was grateful for the orange and white cat sprawled out on my bed when I walked in the room. (follow him on Instagram #sugarthemiskitocat)
As the little kids woke up from nap, I was grateful my big kids had put the little ones down when I was not even home. They joined in the play. I was blessed when they brought me 'Christmas gifts'.
I am touched when I see my big kids playing 'UNO.' I am even more touched when I notice, Claudia, who has struggled a bit in school, pull out her math workbook on her own.
The night went on that way as we read from 'The Chronicles of Narnia' and ate Tootsie Rolls.
With all this swelling in my heart, I now listen to my girls chattering and giggling across the house. Sitting on what was Mama Tara's bed, looking around at the room that was hers. I question my revelation, "So maybe it is my dream, but is it her dream? " The swarms of uncertainties fill my mind as I measure what I am doing next to what I know of her. I am once again overwhelmed.
I look in the same mirror she looked into and wonder if she ever felt as unsure as I do. I miss her. My heart aches. My watchman sings worship songs outside my window. The rain falls like the tears rolling down my cheeks.
God comforts me with this ... Your dream, Her dream, My dream.
I surrender all my dreams to Him ....... And May all dreams come true!