Sunday, July 22, 2007

making a small small difference

I’ve never had problems reaching for the stars. Maybe it’s just my personality. Maybe it’s because I’m a first born child. Maybe I’m just a dreamer. I like to over analyze. I like to be passionate about everything.

Just ask my brother.

Coming to Africa I assumed my grandiose thinking would be super inflated. That I would want to carefully and dogmatically guard my earnest beliefs on everything while simultaneously conceiving a plan to single handedly save the country of Liberia.

Don’t worry, I already know I am completely ridiculous.

Instead, I am daily increasing my belief in the truth of Mother Theresa’s quote
“We can not to great things, only small things with great love.”

There are so many small experiences here. Like yesterday at the pediatric hospital. African children are often terrified of white skin. You stoop down to their level with friendly eyes and are often greeted with an underlying look of terror and uncertainty. This progresses to either a systematic series of screams or a retreat back into the arms of a nearby mother. Sometimes both actions occur simultaneously.

I stooped down to talk to a small boy on the malnourished children ward. He looked uncertain but he did not withdrawal when I reached for him. I sat on my knees and gently rubbed is small dark hand. He didn’t smile. He didn’t really even look at me. But at some point the grabbed my hand and would not let go. I think I was providing a tiny sense of security. As I held his hand and gazed at his tiny face I was hit by the beauty of the moment. It was a small moment. But it was filled with great love. And I think it was important.

Today at church a beautiful little girl in a clean white dress cemented herself next to me. She would grab my hand and carefully examine it’s contours. She touched and played with my hair. She held and laughed and my huge earrings. I quickly sensed that she was in need of female affection. I was old enough to be her mother and she was emulating me in a daughter-like fashion. I gave her the affection she was craving. After the service was over someone told me that her mother was dead. The little girl asked me if she could go home with me. We were together for less than two hours. A small string of moments but important.

I don’t think I will ever change the world but that is not a defeating thought. It liberating. I am free to give myself over to daily tokens of affection. Small things with great love. You don’t have to be a dreamer to do that.

1 comment:

faith said...

i love how God can totally change our way of thinking!
love it!