I’ve been chewing on this for a few days. I have been wanting to respond without conveying a heart of frustration or condemnation, for that is not my stance in any way. It is a heart of brokenness. It is a heart of compassion. It is a heart that I could not have recognized three years ago. It is from that changed, eyes-opened heart that I share this.
We were doing our regular thing, sitting there and waiting for our turn. She sat there patiently, beamingly. Soon the floodgates would open and it would be her class’ turn. She talks about it throughout the week. And she’s declared it for the wide world. She’s going to be a “famous ballerina who dances in front of everyone”. And while her pride radiates from her little soul as they dance her innocence is so precious. She doesn’t know it’s just “I’m a Little Teapot” to her it’s the greatest Russian symphony ever produced. And to my heart it’s the same.
She went in and I settled into my chair in preparation for the next half hour. A dear friend’s daughter came out of the previous class and frolicked about the hallway. Other moms and grandmas corralled their similar famous ballerinas. Today there was a new business in the air as the competition team tried on track suit outfits in anticipation of ordering the best fit. Awkward clung to the air as no size really fit anyone in the group of fidgety little girls. They were far too preoccupied with the Halloween decorations to understand the urgency of a perfect fit. The experience so similar to bathing a cat… while trying to brush it’s fur backward.
One voice raised above the crowd as sleeves were rolled, “Here are our band of orphans!” A chuckle passed among friends. But it began to strike a different chord in me as it was repeated at least four other times in the next handful of minutes from the same woman. Now I don’t know this woman and I am not the judge of her heart. I am not here to pinpoint her as a “bad person” or a “meanie” or a “hater of orphans”. But my heart broke in that moment and I haven’t been able to shake it from my mind.
I’ve been praying that God would help my life to be a witness to the beauty and the hurt of the orphan, ever since. I’ve been praying that through me God would gently move others to compassion and brokenness for the orphan, American or Foreign.
I used to joke about orphans too. I have even caught myself joking about how easy my life could be in the future without them. As if I deserve to pass the baton on to someone else. It’s easy to distance yourself until they don’t feel real, even when they’re living in your home. They can feel like the movie Annie. Cute. Approachable for an hour and then they return to their 1950’s spot. Romanticized and in the past. Past need. We’re so advanced beyond that now. Even when living with them they can just feel like “normal kids” as if they’re not somehow still trapped in questioning if anyone will love them for more than just a fleeting moment.
And then I remember the lice. And the skin rashes. And the misfit clothes at first introduction, And the gratefulness on Big Guy’s face to just have a fitting pair of underwear. And his own toys! That I would think of him when he wasn’t right there asking for something beamed from his smile.
I remember the cradle cap. I’ve never seen so much. And the dependency on a bottle hanging out of his mouth to feel trust. And how nonchalant Little Man used to be when I left him with others. But now he cries and clings to me a little tightly when in an unfamiliar place. There are now normal and familiar places for more than a few weeks.
And those are just babes from this country. Babes that have not tasted the bitterness of a third world country. And rampant disease, And shortened life expectancies. Or the bitterness of human trafficking.
And my heart cries out
“Heal my heart and make it clean
Open up my eyes to the things unseen
Show me how to love like You have loved me!
Break my heart for what breaks Yours!!!
Everything I am for Your Kingdom’s cause
As I walk from earth into eternity. ”
And tears well in my eyes every time.
Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this; to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world. – James 1:27
Lord, please teach me. And grow me. That others may also seek Your heart for the orphan.