It’s hard to define the time or place. I assume it was early in my childhood. It’s not really a memory. Or even a specific event. It was more of a moment.
The one that walks right into your life, without you even noticing.
It crept into my heart. Late one night. Or maybe it was early one morning? Either way, it stayed and has been doing life with me for quite some time. Keeping pace without making it’s presence fully known. I get the feeling that I am falling behind. That I haven’t received enough praise. That I haven’t made it big yet.
Yet…it keeps whispering.
I’m drenched through and through. Immersed in this feeling. But I live life. Wondering if this feeling of something glistening and dripping wet is something I should notice. But I keep living.
When I returned from our last blog trip I emotionally took to the bed. Hanging raw emotions on a clothesline – hoping for them to dry up and fade out.
Poverty is a strong force. And it’s lies cripple. I couldn’t seem to connect to the developing world.
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But here I am again. In Uganda.
I’m standing, looking into this little girl’s eyes and wondering if I can fully let her into my time and place.
Can you let this precious girl in? And will you remember her today? Or tomorrow? Will you pray for her? Or take in that she is in this picture, in this post, because she lives in poverty?
In fact she lives in one of the most feared slums in Uganda.
As I take in the sweetness of her presence. The purity behind her eyes, I understand what has taken residence in my life – holding me back.
This thing that entered my life so long ago. That kept me focused on me. The American Dream.
This dream kept me moving forward on my agenda. My praise hungry journeys. Each rung of its ladder promising success or fame. Or better yet, success and fame.
My heart and soul went to battle with this dream even though I was unaware it was even there. But not just there, a resident at that.
So as I packed my bags and traveled to Uganda, my Savior continued His faithful work of sanctification in me and spoke to me through something he told Francis of Assisi,
“Keep a clear eye toward life’s end. Do not forget your purpose and destiny as God’s creature. What you are in His sight is what you are and nothing more.”
And this is it. The pure dream. It’s at this confirmation that stuff, so much stuff, falls from my heart. Leaving nothing but who I am to Him. And there I am, able to let them in.
Emerging from an America forged dream. Skin raw from scrubbing. Pink. Broken. Feeling like I lost my way. But knowing I’ve shed the right dream. The one working me over with false praise. Filling me to the brim with empty.
In the shedding, a thought emerges. Pure and sharp. The same thing Emile Leger uttered when he left his mansion in Montreal to go live in a leper colony in Africa,
“The time for talking is over.”
And with that, I sponsor my fourth child. From Uganda. Because talking, as Emile pointed out, is only a starting point. It may give us an understanding of compassion, but it never allows compassion to thrive in us.
And just talking never, ever released a child from poverty.