“…We do not know the worth of one single drop of blood, one single tear. All is grace. If the Almighty is the Almighty, the last word for each of us belongs to Him. That is what I should have said to the Jewish child. But all I could do was embrace him and weep.”
-Francoise Mauriac in the forward to Night by Elie Wiesel (which you should read if you haven’t)
Tonight the human determination to see beauty struck me. I was watching television and editing photos of last week’s Mexico trip. I wondered that the stories told in the world of entertainment entertain by telling of humanity at it’s best and worst. We tell and retell these same stories over and over again. It’s not just that we’re caught up with what will happen to Oceanic Flight 815. It’s that we care that Jack emerges heroic in the end. Kate finds love. Sawyer settles his demons…
For the last four years or so, Mexico has been a part of my life. I love the idea that we can go somewhere foreign and carry a message of hope and love and grace with us. That’s a piece of why I go. Last week was a different sort of trip, though, because we rubbed shoulders with so many hard things. I mentioned Jesus Roberto in a recent post. We’ve known his grandparents and sister for a couple of years now, but I held an abandoned little boy in my arms last week. His ten pounds felt heavy in my arms, the weight of a life already fragmented with loss. And yet, the resolve of his abuela Naomi and the tenderness of his sister Karely struck our team. We wanted to take that little boy home with us. We didn’t want to see Naomi burdened with a boy she so loved. She is old, too old for this story.
We bought diapers, spoke a blessing over the baby. We left.
Our days were filled with teaching English in the school. Many of the photos that I love from this trip are portraits of the faces of these little ones we met. We noticed some are eager students, others timid. Some shied away from us; others clung to our words, our hands, our hearts. We know some of these kids go home to lonely houses, because their parents work long hours to put food on the table.
We tried to look at them and love them all. They are beautiful, amazing children.
Jose, the little guy pictured below, doesn’t speak very well and lagged behind the other children a bit in the classroom. For the last four years, I’ve seen his little face every time we’ve come around the colonia. He runs with the other children. He plays hard. He hangs out with our teams from the moment we arrive until the moment we leave. His eyes have always been joyful, this skinny little boy covered in lice and bites with confused words…
Tonight I find myself achingly hopeful for this community. Jesus and Jose make me long for resolution to their stories. I don’t want poverty’s consequences and injustice’s heaviness to break their little souls. It’s not just that I’m caught up in seeing some of the big picture messes of the colonia cleaned up: running water and food supply and providing jobs and hope… these are important things.
But these kids, these precious little kids, they matter. And I go because I want them to know that. I will always go because I want them to know that. I believe it is God’s heart. They are created and valuable and loved. He loves them so. They matter.