We found ourselves stuck in the alley just around the corner,
no longer able to hold back the flood gates. I could feel the heat, my throat swelling from trying so hard to gain control.
But we stopped and let the tears flow.
My heart was broken and taken captive all at the same time. As hands were found between the gates, pleading for more games. more stories. more hugs. more laughs. more time together. Their longing to be loved was not kept secret and nothing in me wanted to leave, to let them go.
That day, was the day we met the sweetest children at an orphanage within the town. Our time together was not all dramatic. It was what you would expect when hanging out with children. games. laughter. and more games. And I was ready for all that. What I was not ready for was the drama that happened all within my heart. My senses were on overload. First it was with what I saw. Seeing their sweet faces that never seemed to stop smiling. Then seeing the dirt, the shoes with holes, the clothes that did not seem to match. And then it was with what I heard, their stories. Each uniquely broken in some way.
Can we just stop for a second?
It just did not make sense.
YOU’RE SMILING? SMILING?
Because my heart is frowning and all broken; it’s crying with compassion for you. My heart desires to take you from this. You being here, says the opposite that you’re wanted, loved, and known.
And it did not stop there. I was frustrated with their circumstance and then frustrated with myself.
Who am I?
To walk into their place, their lives, get close, snap a picture and say goodbye?
How does that say, I love you?
How does that say I care?
How does that say you’re not forgotten?
It all felt grey and extremely clouded.
My heart was ready to burst. Ripened for a melt down.
That melt down did occur, hidden from their eyes in the alley around the corner. A lot of the emotions that day stemmed from the thought, this is the last day I will see you. A time cut so short.
But God was kind and gracious and gave us two more times to connect.
To go back and love boldly, freely, and tangibly.
To get closer.
Let me tell you. How much of a literal blessing it was to be present with these children. To just get on their level. To feel all that I felt. To be in between and for my heart to become attached. Because their smiling that I wanted to stop so suddenly, was a glimpse of God’s hands working in their circumstance. Of Him whispering the truth to me that He is up to something. He is writing their story and He is after their hearts. The suffering you see and what they feel is apart of that story.
What I know is that He has called me to care deeply for others, especially for those that are marginalized, like the orphans I now know. What’s hard about that is that I have to let the guards of my heart down to feel and sometimes to become hurt, like I did that day in the orphanage.
It has made me all more passionate for Him and His work.
And all those pictures that I felt so guilty taking, are the pictures that will connect people to care, to love, and to pray for these children that I desire to call mine and to move across seas for.
Storytelling is a privilege, but it’s also extremely difficult for I do not always see what God is doing in the lives of others. I cannot always see His hand. But I do know is He is mightily involved and this prompts me to be present in people’s lives, like that day in the orphanage. And instead of trying to brainstorm of how to take control of the situation, I am beckoned to trust that He has it all in His hands. And sometimes, He calls me to come alongside Him in this work,
like the beautifully broken trip to Romania.
find out more: http://www.thearchibaldproject.com/ // http://www.noroc.org/