Sunday, December 9, 2007

on the beauty of sponsored children

Oct. 2, 2006

Entering my apartment is always the same routine.

Juggling books and my overweight purse and trying to dig for keys in the rubble that I can't ever seem to find time to clean. I flick on the lights and try to find some sense of order as I kick off my shoes and look around to see who is home.

Yesterday after this routine was all but played out, I noticed the mail on the counter. Two letters from two of my three children that I sponsor. There is nothing more beautiful to me than the letters I get from these kids. Always overflowing with gratitude and excitement from the last letters I sent them, they thank me for every sheet of stickers I send them and they tell me how much they and their families love me. Yes, I am a pansy, but I am brought to tears almost every time I open one.

Geographically, they are so far away from me.

From Peru, to El Salvador, and into the jungles of Rwanda, my letters somehow make it to each of them. Somehow, I get this amazing opportunity to give these kids some part of myself. About five cups of Starbucks coffee that I don't drink gives them everything they need to excel in life, and gives them the chance to make that difference that we are all craving to make in this world. They get food. Clean water. Vaccinations. Materials for school. Bibles to read. Tutors to help them study. I can't even comprehend how giving so little can produce so much in their lives.

I get caught up sometimes, in these petty struggles of daily life. Of paying bills and getting to work on time; of finding my keys in the abyss of my purse and worrying that I won't quite make a grade in psychology class. Then I get these letters... that are so full of hope, and gratitude, and childlike faith, and I realize that life is about so much more than what we make of it.

I daydreamed tonight about getting to someday go to El Salvador and meet Jennifer. I can imagine it all in my mind; the way that she would smile at me, and the hope and beauty that would be in her eyes. I can imagine the way she would take my hand and show me her family. I can picture trying to communicate with her in my limited and broken Spanish, and I can hear her laughter as I mispronounce every other word. She calls me 'Tia Dayna'. Aunt Dayna. She draws me pictures with broken crayons on the back of every letter.

And to me, they are the most beautiful pictures this world has ever seen.

There are many places in this world that I dream of visiting. There are scores of civilizations and peoples that I am passionate about visiting and experiencing. But I think that the day I get the chance to throw my arms around one of my little boys or my beautiful little girl will be one of the most spiritually satisfying days of my life.

I think that they bless me infinitely more than I could ever hope to bless them.

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