Friday, May 6, 2011

Lessons from the orphans

Orphanage day.

I left my bleeding heart with the babies and came home after a wonderful morning of playtime and hugs.

Then I walked in the door, squeezed my baby girl tight, and snuggled her until she fell asleep. Then I took a picture of course :) (What else do I do besides take pictures these days? Sheesh.)

I can be having the crummiest, most depressing and discouraging week of the century... but the minute I walk into that baby house and love on those darling angels, my heart melts into thankfulness and tenderness. How can I not be grateful for all my blessings afterward?

Today we were thankful to have some visitors from America helping us. Their team is here for a week and I snagged them before they leave soon. It was wonderful to have them come because some of our usual volunteers are either out of the country or not coming anymore. I was so proud to show off our little ones to our visitors! They are sweethearts that will melt your heart like an ice cream cone in July.

I took half the volunteers to the older toddler section while the other ladies stayed with the babies. Of course my heart yearned to hold baby K in the baby room, but I was still happy to play with the older children. We took them outside and they were thrilled! The courtyard doesn't have much as far as play equipment goes. There are aging wooden benches amidst rusty swings and teeter-totters, and the cement ground is dusty. But the children don't mind. To them it's still a wonderful world to explore! The toddlers are a hoot- they run around playing with the toys we bring while swinging or sitting on the teeter-totters. I'm not really sure what other toys they have other than what we bring twice a week for them... but from what I can tell our toys are a treat for them. Many of the toys have been donated from expat families who brought the items from America or Europe. They are all in very good condition and safe for younger children.

I thought to myself this morning, "How many toys sit unused and forgotten in so many houses around the world... yet these children are yearning for just one little toy car to play with?" I don't have all the answers, my friends. I don't expect us all to pack up all of our children's toys and ship them to Africa tomorrow. I'm just commenting on how little these toddlers have and how thankful they are. My own daughter has toys she doesn't bother to play with. I've started giving some of those "forgotten" toys away to some of my local friends, and other toys I've swapped with my friends for variety. I like the idea of living simply and not hoarding up too many possessions. So even though I don't have all the answers, I do have ideas on how we can live simpler lives full of selflessness and giving.

Working at the orphanage has changed me more than I have helped them, of this I'm sure. I come home with more gratitude, sensitivity, calmness, and simplicity. Father's Son was right when he said:

“Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 18:3)

I wish you all could come see my sweethearts at the baby house. And maybe someday you can :) Come visit me. I'm serious.

May we throw aside our complaining and pessimism and clothe ourselves with gratitude when we stop to realize all the blessings we really do have in this life. May we be like little children with simple hearts and deep love.

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