12.24.2012

Everything shifts

We were so worried leaving last week. Every one of us that is from out of the country was heading home for Christmas and we thought "What about the children?" Not once since we started in October 2011have we missed the weekly meals and I couldn't stand the thought of missing now, after all this time. The food can be quite time consuming and difficult to cook if you have not done it before so we arranged to have our hospital cafeteria make it, my local friend who has been helping for nearly a year would pick it up and bring it for distribution. In addition, there is a nursing student from the states visiting and she was interested in helping pass out the food. As Saturday night in California rolled around my mind, as always when I am here, drifted to Guwahati and Lakhtokia. I worried that something would go wrong and the food wouldn't make it, I worried that the nursing student would be overwhelmed, and we wouldn't be there to talk about it. Somewhere, though, I knew that the sense of stability and consistency has already changed this community and its children. I knew everything would be okay. I woke up in the middle of the night to a beautiful message from the nursing student:

"I am having trouble finding words to describe how I felt and how I feel now. At one point I was absolutely speechless and almost started crying. Even now....The kids were having such a blast! As soon as they saw us their faces lit up and they ran to get the others, and they took our hands leading us. You were right, they just want to be loved...."

A huge wave of emotion washed over me. I so vividly remember that moment. The one where everything shifts. Where you realize now you have seen and met these children. They are more than just a face on a screen; their level of poverty is beyond comprehension (and so often their joy too) and the fact that it is found in the middle of a city makes the disparity that much more obvious. Yes, now their lives are more than something you have heard about and somehow your existence and theirs have become intertwined.

Everything shifts

Your reality will never be the same. Gosh, I remember that exact moment. Something rips open and all of this very real need just spills out before you. The world seems to grow underneath your feet as you stand there with three children in your arms and a dozen more excitedly waiting for their turn to be hugged (read: to be loved). The world inexplicably expands, it becomes huge and in the moment you remember how we exclaim: 

"The world is mine!"

A triumphant statement of ownership that no longer seems acceptable because now you know, it is not the world which belongs to you, but you who so clearly belongs to the world. 

 Photo by Laura C. Steinbach from 09/12

Photo by Laura C. Steinbach from 09/12

 Photo by Laura C. Steinbach from 09/12

Photo by Laura C. Steinbach from 09/12

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