Thursday, February 03, 2011

Bed Time Can Wait When Hearts are Changing

She finds me at the top of the stairs, tidying up forgotten board books and stuffed puppies, hoping to draw this day to a close.  She shows me the picture in the magazine. The one that daddy showed the night before when complaints about dinner arose.   A classroom of school children sitting in desks with eyes forlorn and arms of skin and bones.  She asks me to tell her about it again.  I sit on the bottom step and she sits next to me, eager to hear about the starving souls and starving bodies in a far away place called North Korea.  I ask her, "Can you imagine?", she shakes her head, "No".  Sister comes and sits next to her to listen too.

My words sound inadequate to me as they stutter, sharing frightful realities to child ears.  I ask them, "Why did God allow you to be born here in this country?". The younger answers, "Because He knew that you and daddy could handle it.".  I smile and prod deeper, "Yes, but why were you not born to a mama and daddy who didn't have money to feed you, like so many other children are?"  I can see there eyes fill with deep thinking, and then with understanding, realizing that they are the privileged. 

I think about when we pray the words, "Thank you for this food", and say them with haphazard care, not thinking about gratefulness at all, but rather of almost anything else.  Can we practice speaking "thank you" with desperate humility?

Thank. You.  For.  This.  Food.

Thank. You. For. This. Food.  

I prod further, rhetorically, not expecting a response, "Are you ever uncomfortable? Are you ever without?"  They shake their heads, both knowing.  "What is your responsibility?...  Mama's been thinking about this too?... What is our responsibility since we have so much and others have so little?...  Just think about it ..."

Pajamas are slipped on and oldest slips downstairs.  I know she has a mission.  I finish the hair braids and teeth brushing, gifting the mission hearted one with time to act and do.  With enough moments passed, I slowly round the bottom of the staircase and see the work done. A paper card with a paper pocket filled with coins and labelled "money".  A rainbow bright on the facing side with a sunshine smiling down.  She says it's for Uwizeymana, her Compassion sister friend in Rwanda.  I nod with understanding.  She's learning and figuring this out, and acting as her heart leads. 

Can I learn from her?  And act a little more, do a little more?  Can I see my responsibility and act upon it too?    

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