Owlish Contemplations · Whispers of Faith

She Matters.

[Disclaimer: the following scenario is a figment of the imagination based off of other people’s stories that I have read, not an actual experience that I have had … but Jesus gave me this picture a couple weeks ago & it has been seared upon my heart so that I feel like it must be shared.]

Dark, dark eyes stared up at me, filled with more pain and sorrow than most people have known in their lifetimes. Certainly more than any child should have to suffer in three short years. Tightly kinked curls lay clustered all about the sweet, round head and skin the color of chocolate languished dry and dusty. Never before had I seen a toddler sit so incredibly still and silent – as if the world itself had suddenly grown motionless. The instrument of sorrow had cut swiftly across this little one’s life before it had even begun, and it had been none too kind or subtle about it.

It was only she and I on a humid, sweltering African plain – she with no clear hope for her future, and I from a country that guarantees every possible hope for their children. No one knew about this child except for perhaps the orphanage staff … this precious life thought up and breathed into existence by God Himself. She had learned to stop crying a long time ago because her wail was only another noise in an already too loudly wailing world. She had simply learned to “exist” – to breathe in and out, ignore the hungry ache in her stomach, and wander aimlessly through her wee little world, unaware that there could be more to life … unaware that there was such a thing called love.

She didn’t know what it was to be wanted or to have arms wrap around her in the dark of a nightmare. She didn’t know the feel of pretty clothes against her skin or the delight of a toasted cheese sandwich cut diagonally. She was unaware that people actually ate a variety of food instead of rice and beans for every meal. She had never known the joy and delight of playing with dollies, having her hair braided or climbing on playground toys. Nobody had ever sung her a good-night lullaby, danced with her in the kitchen or said the words “I love you” to her. No one had ever given a second thought to her existence, much less her care and protection.

And here in America, people spend $20,000 or more to have their child on a TV show that sickeningly glorifies the coddling of toddlers far too young to be made up and pranced around. We waste our money, aid in children’s self-absorption and discontent while babies in hot deserts a world away just long for someone to care about them. What kind of morals and priorities do we have if we care more about putting a tiara on some tot’s head instead of putting food in their mouth and meaning in their life?

It’s because the instrument of sorrow hasn’t sheared into our own lives. We haven’t looked deep into those longing eyes or seen the effects of starvation up close. We can pretend it doesn’t exist, pretend our country is the only one that matters, and pretend that we should look out for ourselves most. But no matter how hard we try, we can never pretend away the tiny lives bent low by sorrow. For they do exist and they must be cared about.

So what can we do? Surely not all of us can afford to adopt those dear little ones and bring them home. But can’t we all spare at least $38 a month to give hope in a broken and suffering world? Compassion International is just one organization through which we can sponsor children … give up a few coffees or movies so that they can be given a hope for their future. It seems so little in light of the enormity of suffering, but when I receive letters back from dear Gemechu with pencil scratchings that say “I love you” – from a little boy in Ethiopia who has never met me – that’s when I know that it matters. Maybe you can invest in only one child’s life. But that child will never be the same, and he or she needs you. So much more than you need yourself to feel comfortable.

Let her know she matters. Let him know he has a future. Let them know that we who have been given much – we care.

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