Sunday, January 30, 2011

Gracie and her handkerchief

I know I don’t usually blog about my life, but today held something very special to me. Or, rather I held someone very special to me.

I always love going to Acacia Community Church. The people are so friendly, and I get to see some very special friends. One of which, is Grace. She is the sweetest little girl you’ll ever find. Her one goal seems to be to be friends with all who will look at her. She has the best imagination, and loves to be just with you. I love to help with the kids, mostly because of the ones like her.

Only one problem: she can’t run. She can hardly walk without wincing. Some-days you might hear her, “ah! oh, my leg. It dis paining me.” Her preference is to be held than to walk anywhere in the Church (or, it’s actually the Nester’s house) premises. And she usually gets her wish. But when all the other kids are playing tag, she watches them run. She may even whimper a slight sound. But she’ll never complain—she just sits and watches. When I have the strength, I love to pick her up and run around the compound; usually most the other kids find it very much fun to chase me, so we’re all happy. But today, I was about to fall asleep on her shoulder. And she was nearly crying.

She always loves to carry a “bahguh,” whether it’s big enough to hold her one handkerchief or not. And she shows that one handkerchief to many passersby. She tells them, “it fol when I chry. I do na want authahs to know I chry, so I karly a hankderchiff.” She’s five, and she already knows the art of hiding the heart.

It’s white, with rainbow colours on the borders. But it’s stained with the tears of a girl who’s lost her parents, has no one her age that cares, and lives her life sharing every single thing she “owns” with 14 other girls. Her best friend was taken from the “family” orphanage, in which she lives, just weeks ago. I wish I could ease her pain.

Her handkerchief is one of beauty and pain. And I wish I could purify the white without the tear stains. I tell her, and she asks the same question as always, “Why? Is you hankerchiff clee-ann?”


Friday, January 28, 2011

What peace is

There once was a man, and he decided that he wanted a picture. But he didn’t want just ANY picture, oh, no. He wanted a picture that portrayed the true meaning of peace.

So, he had 3 artists paint a picture of “true peace.”

The first man, one who lived up in the mountains, came in the next day with a beautiful portrait of a lake at mid-night with a moon gently glistening over the sky. The waters in the lake were subtly lapping against the edge of the shore-line and a lone wooden boat waited in the haze of the twilight. The man was pleased with this, but told the artist he’d rather wait for the next guy to show.

A little later, the second artist came. She brought an awe-inspiring canvas with the brilliant colours of the sunset as it sank deep beneath the rolling sea. The palm branches were almost swaying and the water didn’t crash upon the sand, but rather flowed back and forth in it’s attempt to keep up with the pattern it had already made. Very pleased with her work, the man still wanted to see his third option

After many calls to the third artist, the man finally got to behold the final painting. But, in dismay he said, “A waterfall?”

Indeed, the third artist had brought an almost disturbing piece with a plummeting waterfall. It was gorgeous indeed, the mist almost wetting your nose. The lush, green ferns all about were bent backwards by the power of the falls. The rocks even seemed a bit ‘fraid of the rush of waters catapulting continuously towards them.

“Yes, but look behind the waterfall, if you may, sir.”

If you were to stand there with the man, you’d first behold the rainbow the gleamed from the side of the water. But as you gazed more and more intently on the scene unfolding before your eyes, a little blue bird would catch your attention. That bird seemed almost asleep, she had her wings folded quite comfortably and her eggs were snug and warm. She gazed back at you through the rush that never ended with tiny little black eyes that held no fear in them. The man pointed at her, and shot a questioning glance at the artist.

“You see, sir? That bird, she’s quite safe. You’d say she looked peaceful, no? She is safe. Behind all that chaos, she knows nothing can harm her. She sees the chaos but has no concern, for she cannot be harmed by anything out there. That would be peace, sir. To know that, no matter what is happening in the world around us, we cannot be harmed. To understand that we are protected in the most divine way, should give us the peace we seek. That would be peace.”

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Give Me Your Eyes

“Step out on a busy street. I see a girl and our eyes meet. She does her best to smile at me—to hide what’s underneath. There’s a man just to her right. … too afraid to tell his wife he’s outta work—he’s buying time. … Why have I never cared?”

I’m surrounded, you’re surrounded, we’re surrounded. We’re in a losing battle, and we’re not sayin’ much. If I really could see them, why can’t I really care? I see a girl… and she’s hurting more than I can know. There’s a man… and he’s frightened as scared can be. There’s a little boy—he looks like he hasn’t had a bath in 2 years. He probably hasn’t, and it’s not ‘cause his mother rejects him.

“Give me your eyes so I can see everything I keep missing. Give me your love for humanity. Give me your arms for the broken-hearted--the ones that are far beyond my reach. Give me your heart for the ones need guiding. Give me your eyes so I can see.”

I keep tryin’ to see, but my eyes fail me. I can’t see through some of those smiles—I can’t tell you what’s paining the boy next to me. I may guess it was fake, but isn’t everyone’s that way? A thousand eyes watch me every day, I meet maybe half of them with my glance. Of those half a thousand, I see a smile and accept it. I see a shrug, and don’t question it. Those I do question… shrug again. '

Maybe people try the same with me. I could be the girl who smiles… and they find me frustrating and closed. Maybe I shrug off those who just want to help. But I feel I don’t need help. I don’t want to break this wall that’s suffocating me. She doesn’t either. I understand. That’s the turn I take. That’s the first step away from the one who needs me to stay. I know I need to stay… but I don’t…. “Why have I never cared?”

Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Water

"Every human creature is constituted to be that profound secret and mystery to every other. ... No[t any longer] can I look into the depths of this unfathomable water, wherein as momentary lights glanced into it, I have had glimpse of buried treasure and other things submerged. It was appointed that the book should shut with a spring, forever and ever, when I had read but a page. It was appointed that the water should be locked in eternal frost, when the light was playing on its surface, and I stood in ignorance on the shore."    --Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities

I know, I not only am the water, but also the one on the shore. I wish I could understand the things submerged forever, and yet I don't wish to let mine be uncovered, either. I live both in the frozen lake, and yet on the icy shore of another. And I wish for the spring, yet hate the sun. A living contradiction, I fear the change I long for.